UAE: Woman fined Dh500,000, gets 5-year jail over hate speech video that went viral

The authorities closed her social media account and permanently banned her from using any information network, electronic information system


Ajanta Paul

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Published: Thu 6 Jul 2023, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 6 Jul 2023, 10:43 PM

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court on Thursday handed out a verdict, sentencing an individual to five years of imprisonment and imposing a fine of Dh500,000. The accused (M R A) was found guilty of posting a video online that incited hate speech.

The court also ordered her deportation from the country after serving the prison term. The authority ordered the confiscation of the mobile phone used in committing the crime and deleted the video clip in question from both the mobile phone and the social media account on which it was posted.

In addition to the sentencing, the authorities closed her social media account and permanently banned her from using any information network, electronic information system, or other information technology means.

After the video abusing men and domestic workers went viral, the matter was brought to the Public Prosecution's notice. The authority promptly initiated investigations into the video clip that was being circulated through social media platforms and ordered her arrest.

Following a thorough investigation, the Public Prosecution charged the accused with inciting hate speech and requested the competent criminal court, in its referral decision, to punish her in accordance with the articles of the Federal Decree-Law No. (2) of 2015 on combating discrimination and hatred.

Article 7 of the Decree-Law on combating discrimination and hatred stipulates that whoever commits an act that would incite hate speech in any way of expression or by using any means would be sentenced to either or both imprisonment for five years as minimum and a fine of at least Dh500,000 and not more than Dh2 million.

Anti-discrimination/anti-hatred law

In July 2015, Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 (PDF) on Combating Discrimination and Hatred was passed, which aims to protect everyone in the UAE and thus bring the concept of social security to a new level.

The law intends to provide a solid legislative ground for the environment of tolerance, co-existence and acceptance. It aims to fight discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

It criminalises any acts that trigger religious hatred and/or insult religion through any form of expression, which covers speech and the written word, books, pamphlets or online media. The law also prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, his prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.

The law prohibits any entity or group established specifically to provoke religious hatred and recommends stringent punishments for groups or supporters of any organisations or individuals that are associated with hate crimes.

It also bars any kind of events such as conferences and meetings within the UAE, which are organised with the sole purpose of sowing seeds of discrimination, discord or hatred against individuals or groups.

Receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law.

The law encourages anyone involved in any activity that violates the law to submit themselves voluntarily before the authorities and has provisions allowing the courts to waive penalties in such cases.


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