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8 social media posts that got people in trouble in the UAE

StepFeed logo StepFeed 24/08/2018 StepFeed

8 social media posts that got people in trouble in the UAE

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The UAE is classed as one of the most technologically and architecturally advanced countries in the Arab world. 

In addition, when it comes to traditions as well as societal and religious values, the country often takes a firm approach in order to safeguard individuals and protect the people's right to privacy.

Over the past few years, numerous residents and visitors found themselves in deep trouble because of the content they posted on their social media accounts, which infringes the UAE's Cybercrime laws.  

Take a look at some of them: 

1. Australian woman deported over a Facebook post of car parked in disabled spot (2015)

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Back in 2015, Australian Jodi Magi, who had worked in the UAE as a graphic design teacher since 2012, was fined 13,200 dirhams ($3,600,) jailed for two days, and deported from the country. 

What had led to this incident was a Facebook post Magi had uploaded, which showed a car - with its plate number blacked out - parked across two disabled spots in the building she was staying in.

2. Another car parked across a disabled-designated spot (2016)

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As Dubai-based billionaire and Indian businessman, Balwinder Sahni, was loading his car with heavy catalogs with the help of his driver, a man took a picture of the car taking the space reserved for the disabled and shared it on social media.  

After initially fining Sahni's driver with 1,000 dirhams ($272) and giving him four black points, the Dubai Police arrested the man behind the photo for sharing it online. 

Sahni resorted to the UAE's Cybercrime law No. 5 of 2012, and explained he was not parked in the bay but had simply "pulled up for about 30 seconds."

3. A YouTube video featuring three unrelated men and a woman in a car (2017)

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Back in August 2017, a YouTube video which showed three unrelated men and a woman drive around in a car led to the arrest of all participants. 

Under the UAE's Cybercrime laws, Abu Dhabi Police stated the video "was contrary to the values, norms, and traditions of the UAE society and that raised a wave of worry among the viewers."

4. A photo from 1000 ft high building (2017)

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Although the photoshoot took place in late December 2016, it wasn't until the beginning of 2017 that Russian model Viki Odintcova had the world talking about her stunt. 

Dubai Police summoned the model to make her sign "an undertaking not to repeat any dangerous moves that could endanger her life in Dubai."

5. Hate messages from the UAE all the way to India get their sender deported

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In April of 2017, an Indian employee identified only as B.B. sent offensive messages to Indian investigative journalist Rana Ayyub. 

After she had shared screenshots of the messages on Twitter, some of her followers shared them with the management of the UAE-based company where the harasser worked since 2015.

Subsequently, the man was fired from his job and immediately deported from the country.

6. A WhatsApp conversation that cost one of the participants 500,000 dirhams (2016)

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Two years ago, an Emirati woman was fined 500,000 dirhams ($136,130) for cursing her uncle and a historic Muslim scholar in a WhatsApp conversation. 

The uncle reported the incident to the police, saying "she cursed me and Yazid [Yazid bin Muawiya] in a message." The messages she had sent supposedly called her uncle "tyrannous, wicked and a forger." 

7. Another WhatsApp conversation that led to deportation (2017)

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A man, whose identity remained unknown, was deported and fined 5,000 dirhams ($1,361) last year for sending insulting, strong-worded messages to his wife via the messaging app. 

The series of offensive messages came following a family dispute which ultimately turned into a verbal argument.

8. One-word comment on Instagram cost a user 250,000 dirhams (2017)

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Last summer, an Emirati man posted a photo on Instagram only to be met with an insulting comment from his own brother. 

The latter was fined 250,000 dirhams ($68,062) and received a three-month jail sentence under the UAE's Cybercrime laws.

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