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Australian expat deported following Facebook post

Magi sent to Bangkok as her ‘destination of choice’

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi resident Jodi Magi was deported from the capital on Tuesday evening after being found guilty of posting offensive language on social media.

The 39-year-old Australian artist had posted a picture of a vehicle parked across two spots reserved for the disabled on her Facebook page earlier this year. The image was accompanied with a slanderous message, including the words ‘crazy’ and a slang for the male sexual organ, directed at the vehicle’s driver.

On February 24, the European vehicle owner, complained to authorities about Magi’s Facebook post.

Citing a judicial source, the National Media Council (NMC) said: “Following a complaint from the car’s owner, a European, Magi, admitted having posted the photo online but not the incriminating text.”

Her husband told police on March 3 that while Magi had posted the pictures online, she had not written the offensive statement.

In April, Magi was sentenced in absentia to pay a Dh10,000 fine followed by deportation. After being detained, she later unsuccessfully attempted to appeal the verdict, although she was released on bail the same day, the NMC said.

The Dh10,000 fine was paid in July before the deportation order was issued and Magi was sent to Bangkok as her “destination of choice”, the NMC revealed.

The Australian had been teaching graphic design to Emirati women in the capital after having lived in the country since 2012.

A statement issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said: “Ms Jodi Magi … was sentenced for a cyber crimes offence. On July 12, Ms Magi presented herself to a court in Abu Dhabi to pay a court-ordered fine and was taken into custody pending deportation to Australia. This is normal practice in Abu Dhabi.”

In fact, Magi’s actions violate the UAE’s Federal Law No 5 of 2012, also known as the Cyber Crimes law. This states that individuals can be prosecuted for publishing pictures of individuals without their consent, as well as making offensive statements about them.

Individuals who disrespect Islam and make statements that breach good morals and conduct may also face legal punishment.

Members of the public are urged to report any wrongdoing to authorities, and to show the police documented evidence they may have of the crime, without posting the information online.

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