What’s up with those Whatsapp messages? Emirati woman fined for controversial chat

Published April 28th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
A file photo of Whatsapp messenger. (Creative commons)
A file photo of Whatsapp messenger. (Creative commons)

A veteran teacher has been fined Dh500,000 for inciting sectarian strife by texting offensive WhatsApp messages to her uncle in which she cursed him and a caliph.

The 53-year-old Emirati teacher sent WhatsApp messages to her maternal uncle [who is from a different sect] that contained words of an offensive nature between November 2015 and January 2016.

She called her uncle names and accused him of being a forger, unfair, unmanly, a cheater, among others.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the woman of abusing the telecommunication system to incite sectarian strife and hatred and to offend her uncle after she pleaded guilty.

The defendant did not attend Wednesday's hearing when presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi pronounced the judgement.

The accused abused WhatsApp to curse her uncle and offend him, said records,

She also incited sectarian strife when she belittled her uncle.

The 53-year-old defendant told the court, in what was believed to be one among the first few cases of the kind since the ratification of the Hate Law in 2015: "I said what was mentioned because that is his real character. I said that because that's exactly what and who he is! I am an educationist and I have been teaching for 29 years ... several generations graduated during my tenure. Probably some of you here graduated because of me. This case surfaced due to an inheritance disagreement between us. I used to give him money and helped him financially ... this is a void accusation. It happened, yes, but after he insulted me and provoked me. He became so greedy and never asked about me though I had cancer."

When asked if she had cursed the caliph, she said yes.

The 60-year-old Emirati uncle claimed to prosecutors that his niece cursed him and maligned him as well via WhatsApp.

"She texted me on WhatsApp messages that were full of hatred and inciting sectarianism and creating sectarian strife among members of the public," the uncle testified.

Wednesday's ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

By Bassam Za'Za'

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