Qatar's appeals court on Sunday, June 24, upheld a two-year jail sentence for a US national found guilty of "harming" the Gulf Arab emirate on the Internet, the official news agency QNA reported.
Luay Abdulla, an American of Palestinian origin who grew up in Qatar and worked at the foreign ministry, will be deported after serving the sentence.
According to his lawyer, Abdulla was also charged with damaging the name of a "famous personality" in the emirate on a web site called "Rumors", which he was accused of setting up.
The American, whose job at the ministry was to check Internet sites, has denied the charges and insisted he had tried to penetrate and dismantle the Rumors site.
Since the verdict was first handed down in March, Abdulla's friends in the United States have campaigned for his release, pleading his innocence.
The 38-year-old was accused of setting up a website featuring a beauty quiz that listed the emir's wife as one of the choices, according to Abdulla's friends and supporters.
Mahir Atwah, a history professor from Kent, Ohio, where Abdulla himself taught for several years, joined forces with other colleagues to lobby Ohio congressmen and the US embassy in Doha on his behalf.
Ray Gribble, another friend in Ravenna, Ohio, says the Qatari native wants to return to Ohio and has launched a support campaign on his website, www.your-daily-bread.com. ― (AFP, Doha)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)