UAE charges man for swearing on Whatsapp

Court case comes as Persian Gulf state tries to curb people sending middle finger emojis on messaging platforms.

June 18, 2015 12:16
1 minute read.

Icons of messaging applications WhatsApp of Facebook (L), Laiwang of Alibaba Group (C) and WeChat, or Weixin, of Tencent Group. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Living in the United Arab Emirates? Well, you might want to consider this fact next time someone rubs you the wrong way: Swearing on phone messaging apps can cost a hefty fine – if prosecutors have their way.

A man in the UAE, convicted of swearing at a colleague on the mega-popular instant-messaging empire Whatsapp, was fined $800, a charge the country's top court said was too lenient, prompting a new trial.

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Though a date for the retrial has yet to be announced, prosecutors – backed by the Abu Dhabi-based Federal Supreme Court – are opting for an up-to-$70,000 fine; or imprisonment. The initial charge was handed down by a lower court after the victim complained to law enforcement that the defendant threatened and swore at him via "insulting" text messages.

The man, who was charged under the country's newly-implemented cyber crime laws, was cleared of the more serious charge, Dubai's 7Days reported.

Court documents did not reveal the content of the messages.

The court case comes as the Persian Gulf state is trying to curb the usage of middle finger emojis on messaging platforms by making it a crime.

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