Dubai:  A business partner has admitted cursing and defaming his former employee on Facebook during the first-of-its-kind trial involving the worldwide electronic social networking tool.

This is believed to be the first court hearing, which involves suspects abusing Facebook for unlawful acts, to be highlighted in the media.

The 26-year-old Syrian partner admitted before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court yesterday that he uploaded several pictures on Facebook of the Lebanese claimant and posted under each of them a libellous comment.


"I am guilty and I did defame him because he provoked me," the partner, A.A. admitted, when he defended himself before Presiding Judge Ebrahim Khalil Abu Shamma in courtroom seven.

Prosecutors charged the defendant with cursing and dishonouring the claimant, A.R., on Facebook by posting slanderous comments under his pictures. When the judge confronted the suspect with the charges, the defendant said: "Your Honour, please let me explain what happened. I had a partnership with his brother in a restaurant … later I discovered that he was stealing the money from the cashier. He also used to inform customers that the restaurant had been sold and that I had nothing to do with the restaurant anymore. His behaviour provoked me and that's why I posted the comments on Facebook …"

The judge intervened and ordered the suspect to stop talking and let his lawyer mention what he had said in a written defence.

Gulf News learnt on Tuesday that the defendant's alleged slanderous comments under four photos posted on Facebook read: "Hey man look at all the people, imagine how much we're gonna steal. [A name which Gulf News won't publish] with the thieves. The man who robbed us of Dh1.4 million to open his own restaurant. A.R. here seen plotting, looking stupid, but plotting."

Records said the defendant pleaded guilty before the prosecutor who questioned him.

"The claimant worked for us as the restaurant's manager. One day, Dubai police's Combating E-crime Section summoned me for questioning. I was informed that A.R. complained against me and claimed that I slandered him on Facebook. I escorted a police patrol to my house from where they confiscated my laptop and took it for examination. We have an ongoing financial dispute between us at Dubai courts … I did libel him because he agonised me," said the defendant in his statement to prosecutors.

Records said the Lebanese reported to the police that A.A. slandered him on Facebook. "He uploaded my photos and published slanderous and dishonourable comments underneath them on Facebook," the claimant told the police.

The judge adjourned the case until A.A.'s lawyer presents his defence.

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