Man's acquittal over FB post reversed

Mans acquittal over FB post reversed

Dubai - Earlier a lower court cleared him of insulting a woman on Facebook.

By Marie Nammour

Published: Mon 7 Dec 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Dec 2015, 11:30 AM

The Dubai Court of Cassation has revoked a verdict by a lower court (the Court of Appeals) that had cleared a man of insulting a woman on Facebook after the Public prosecution challenged the verdict.
The public prosecution demanded that the defendant be punished as per articles 1 and 1/20 of a decree by a federal law no 5 of 2012 regarding online persecution.
The highest court of Dubai has ruled that the case be referred back to the Court of Appeals for new deliberations by a different panel of judges.
In its plea, the prosecution said that the verdict had misrepresented the law as it considered that the Facebook page, in which the alleged insult was posted, was private and consisted of a only limited people, and was not accessible to the public in general.
Nabil Ahmed Rashid Al Khadim, an appeals chief prosecutor, said that article 20 of the decree by a federal law no. 5 of 2012 stressed to punish online abuse on social networking sites or any forms of IT as it can spread quickly and defame a person and damage his or her reputation on a large scale.
He said: "Even if the Facebook page is not accessible to general public, posting derogatory comments defames a person and damages his or her reputation." Article 20 of the said law says that whoever insults or makes any person the subject of contempt through social networking websites or using IT services shall be jailed and ordered to pay a fine that is not less than Dh250,000 and does not exceed Dh500,000 or may get penalised with both.
Such way of defamation does not require a special criminal intention as the general criminal intention is evident when some content posted online makes any person the subject of contempt.
The ruling by the Court of Cassation came in line with the Emirati legislator's vision to preserve the rights of individuals.

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