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Woman denies threatening compatriot on Instagram

Suspect, accused of misusing social media, challenges three-month jail sentence handed in absentia

Gulf News

Dubai: A woman has appealed a three-month imprisonment that she was handed for posting a live chat on Instagram in which she threatened to kill a businesswoman and destroy her restaurant.

The 45-year-old Emirati businesswoman was a member of an Instagram broadcast group of her 28-year-old countrywoman and upon logging in at 1am one day in February, she was greeted by a live chat in which she was subjected to curses and threats before other members.

In May, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the 28-year-old woman in absentia to three months in jail.

However, she was cleared of cursing the businesswoman and her family members.

The defendant surrendered herself and requested a retrial, as per the UAE Criminal Procedure Law.

“I did not do that … I am not guilty,” the defendant told presiding judge Arafa Mohammad in court during her retrial.

She denied the charges of threatening, via Instagram, to kill her 45-year-old countrywoman and wreck the restaurant if she ever dared to speak to her.

The court had also ordered that the device, which the defendant had used to broadcast the live chat on Instagram, be confiscated.

The businesswoman reported to the police shortly after she watched what she deemed to be a slanderous and threatening live chat.

The 28-year-old was said to have misused the social media to curse the businesswoman and threatened to kill her in a live chat that lasted one minute and 44 seconds on Instagram.

The businesswoman testified to prosecutors that she accessed Instagram upon noticing that the 28-year-old woman was on a live chat.

“I watched and heard her cursing members of my family ... she also said that she would kill me and destroy the restaurant if I ever spoke to her. Other members of that Instagram group viewed what she had broadcast. Thereafter, I informed the police,” she said.

The defendant was cited as admitting to prosecutors that she had threatened and offended the businesswoman during her live chat on Instagram.

Presiding judge Mohammad will hear the businesswoman’s statement when the court reconvenes on October 11.

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