Expat cleared of posting woman's photo on social media in UAE

Expat cleared of posting womans photo on social media in UAE

Abu Dhabi - Prosecutors charged the woman with illegally taking the picture of people on the public beach and posting it online.

By Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 11 Dec 2018, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Dec 2018, 7:47 AM

A Bulgarian expat woman, who was fined Dh150,000 for taking a picture of a woman at a public beach in Abu Dhabi and posting the photo on social media without her consent, has been cleared on appeal.
Court documents stated that the expat, who is an environmentalist, had taken the picture to use it for urging volunteers to join her in her beach clean-up campaign. And after posting the photo on a website, the husband of the woman in the picture filed a complaint against the Bulgarian after seeing his wife appearing in the picture.
The man said in his complaint that the accused woman had illegally taken the picture of his wife and also published it online without her permission or knowledge which violates the UAE laws.
Prosecutors charged the woman with illegally taking the picture of people on the public beach and posting it online.
The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance had earlier found the Bulgarian woman guilty of violating laws that prohibit taking and publishing pictures of people without their consent and ordered her to pay the hefty fine.
The woman, however, challenged the ruling at the Abu Dhabi Appeal Court, which cancelled earlier ruling on Tuesday after finding the woman innocent.
The Bulgarian had told the court that she is an environmentalist and she has been organising campaigns to help clean the beaches for more than seven years.
She said she took the photo of the beach and posted it online to invite her volunteer friends for a beach cleanup campaign.
Her lawyer Hassan Al Riyami said his client had received several awards for her volunteering work and had no ill intentions in taking the photo.
"My client is working on raising environmental awareness and always invite volunteers to collect and remove harmful materials from the sea and the beaches. "I believe she must be honoured for her great work."
He had requested the court to clear his client or be lenient on the woman because she is currently unemployed without any source of income and that she could not afford to pay the huge fine imposed on her by the first instance court.

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