Omani blogger cleared of defaming the UAE

Omani blogger cleared of defaming the UAE
2 min read
15 Mar, 2016
Omani blogger Muawiya al-Rawahi was found not guilty by a UAE court on Monday following charges of defaming the Emirates, its rulers and its people on social media.
Muawiya al-Rawahi has been cleared of charges relating to insulting the UAE online [Twitter]
The federal supreme court in the United Arab Emirates has acquitted an Omani blogger of insulting state leaders on social media, the UAE's official WAM news agency reported on Monday.

Muawiya al-Rawahi was found not guilty on charges of establishing and managing social media accounts that disseminated rumours and information that could disturb public order and that intend to ridicule and damage the reputation of the country.

He was detained at the UAE border on 24 February 2015 and charged with defaming the United Arab Emirates [UAE], its rulers and people on social media.

Human Right Watch said Rawahi was held in a secret detention facility until May 2015, after which he was transferred to a prison in Abu Dhabi.

His first appearance in court was on 14 September, nearly seven months after his arrest.

Amnesty International said the blogger suffers from bipolar disorder and had previously criticised Omani authorities and spent time in mental health facilities.

Rawahi was previously arrested in Oman, first in 2012 and later after writing a blog post titled "I'm finally free," IFEX reported.

He was detained in a psychiatric hospital in 2014 after blogging about his support for teachers on strike, and again for a week immediately before he was arrested by the UAE.

In November 2014, Rawahi announced on Facebook that he was giving up blogging, reportedly telling a colleague that he did not believe blogging could make a difference, IFEX said.

Agencies contributed to this report.