UAE man jailed for tweets critical of high court

30 June 2015 - 15:36 By Reuters

A man in the United Arab Emirates was sentenced to three years in jail for Twitter posts allegedly insulting the Gulf country's Supreme Court, a local newspaper reported. Nasser al-Faresi, 27, allegedly called the proceedings of a 2012 sedition trial a "judicial farce" and insulted the UAE's president and Abu Dhabi's crown prince, according to The National.The court found he had "spread rumours and information that harmed the country", the paper said. Faresi's lawyer had argued his client's account was hacked and submitted poems by the defendant praising the country's rulers, it added.The UAE, a US ally and major oil exporter, was rattled by the rise of Islamists in the aftermath of the uprisings that rocked the Arab world from 2011. It launched a series of trials against suspected sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood.In the largest such case, 94 Emiratis including lawyers, doctors and academics were tried for belonging to the "secret organisation" and 69 were sentenced to between seven and fifteen years behind bars.With a small, wealthy local population, the UAE has not seen the unrest which has reduced other parts of the region to war zones. Public criticism of the ruling sheikhs is prohibited.

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