judge court gavel
For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: A top court upheld the 10-year jail sentence for a man found guilty of defaming the UAE through social media channels, promoting sectarian feelings and hatred that would damage the country’s social harmony and unity.

The State Security Court at the Federal Supreme Court on Monday ordered the confiscation of all communication devices used in the crimes, deletion of the statements and closed the websites and social networking accounts used in the offences.

The court rejected the appeal filed by the Emirati defendant and confirmed the verdict issued by the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals in March.

The State Security Prosecutors had charged the man with deliberately damaging the political relations of the UAE with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Turkey by setting up and running social media accounts on Facebook and YouTube.

The defendant was also charged with the publishing of offensive articles and comments that carry obscene words, insults, false accusations and lies about the policies of those countries, and the publication of articles that defame the leaders of these countries, as stated in investigation records.

The indictment also said that the accused had used his accounts to publish videos, articles, false information and rumours that would incite strife, hatred, sectarianism and racism, damage national unity and disturb public order, and abuse of security services in the country.

The man was also charged with posting video clips and articles bearing statements that are offensive to the people of the house of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his esteemed companions, causing sectarian strife and discrimination between doctrines.

He was found guilty of disseminating information and broadcasting false statements that would disturb public security as set out in the investigations.

The prosecution also accused him of photographing sensitive security places contrary to the ban issued by competent authorities.