First Published: 2012-11-13

 

UAE issues tough law for online dissent

 

Gulf state unveils new law that punishes spreading of any material that calls for toppling, changing regime or seizing power by prison sentence.

 

Middle East Online

Boosting the UAE's political stability

DUBAI - The United Arab Emirates issued a new law toughening penalties for cyber crimes to include jail terms for anyone who calls for regime change or mocks its rulers, newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Under the new law, which annuls one issued in 2006, the spreading of any material that calls for "toppling, changing the regime or seizing power" is punishable by a prison sentence, Emarat Alyoum reported, citing the text.

The law gives the judicial authorities the same powers to punish "calls to disobey the principles of the political system" in the Gulf country, a federation of sheikhdoms.

Although oil-rich UAE has been spared the wave of uprisings that hit most Arab countries, the authorities have clamped down on Islamists and claimed in July to have dismantled a group plotting against state security.

Several of those arrested had been active on online social media networks.

Also under the new law, anyone convicted of "creating or running websites that deride or damage the reputation or stature of the country and its rulers will face a minimum jail sentence of three years," said The National, an English-Language daily.

This includes the president, the vice president, rulers and deputy rulers of the emirates and crown princes.

Anyone using electronic sites "to call for disobeying the laws and regulations of the state, as well as to call for demonstrations, marches and similar activities without obtaining a licence, also faces imprisonment," it added.

The United Arab Emirates has come under criticism over arrests.

A European Union resolution last month condemned "harassment," "restrictions on freedom of expression" and "illegal imprisonment" suffered by pro-democracy activists in the UAE, and demanded the "unconditional release of prisoners of conscience," which it says number 64.

The Gulf state dismissed the accusations as unfounded.

 

Syria Foreign Minister in Iran to discuss situation in Middle East

Nusra Front captures more US-trained rebels in northwestern Syria

Yemen retakes biggest airbase from rebels

'New PKK attacks' target security forces in southeastern Turkey

Mediterranean migrant deaths reach tragic milestone in 2015

Violence in Yemen pushes health system to the brink of collapse

Israel court orders extremist Jewish leader to be kept in detention

Suspect in Kuwait mosque attack admits affiliation with ISIS

Head of Taliban's Qatar office quits as leadership rift deepens

Amnesty accuses Sudan of 'war crimes' in South Kordofan

Officials in Damascus play down US warning to Syria regime

Turkish air strikes increase pressure on Iraq Kurdish leadership

British oil company investigated for Somalia corruption

EU to Turkey: Be proportionate in your response to PKK

Two Turkish soldiers killed in new PKK attack

Britain extends air strikes in Iraq by a year

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya