Dubai: Four men were fined Dh5,000 each Thursday for ganging up against a man and beating him over his tweets on Twitter.
The Dubai Misdemeanour Court's Presiding Judge Zakaria Abdul Aziz convicted the four Emirati men of beating 47-year-old J.F., also an Emirati, and his younger brother in front of and inside a police station.
The quartet's indictment came after J.F.'s lawyer, Dr Mohammad Al Rokn, claimed that the defendants beat his client because he had tweeted what the attackers deemed as ‘unpatriotic opinions' on Twitter.
The defendants, 29-year-old A.S, 23-year-old B.N, 24-year-old M.M and 39-year-old K.M, pleaded not guilty and denied the charges of assault of the brothers.
Dr Al Rokn told the court that his client was a well known personality and famous writer in Dubai.
"The defendants intended to beat him up because of his opinions on Twitter. A day before the beating incident, one of the defendants tweeted that J.F. was not nationalistic enough and that he should be stripped of his nationality because of his opinions. He also threatened my client and tweeted to him that he would teach him a lesson. That evidently proves that the assault was not a random fight."
Forensic reports confirmed that the two brothers sustained injuries caused by the assault.
"J.F. is from a decent and reputable family in Dubai. He was beaten because he expressed his opinion on Twitter. One of the defendants sent tweets to my client and threatened him and used foul language. They came from Abu Dhabi to beat up J.F. inside the police station. Three of them work in the armed forces and they are aware that their action is an act punishable by law and they even violated the rules of [the] armed forces," added the lawyer.
The defendants' lawyer asked the court to acquit her clients citing lack of corroborated evidence. She also asked the judge to dismiss the civil lawsuit against her clients.
Dr Al Rokn demanded Dh20,000 in temporary compensation for emotional and physical damages.
Records state J.F. had gone to the police station over a separate issue and the defendants had followed them inside and assaulted them.
The verdict remains subject to appeal within 15 days.