Abu Dhabi court jails Jordanian journalist

Three year prison sentence handed down over Facebook comments

An Abu Dhabi court jailed a Jordanian journalist on Wednesday for three years over Facebook comments deemed insulting to the United Arab Emirates, Emirati state media and a Jordanian press union said.

The Emirati state news agency WAM said a Jordanian national was handed a sentence of three years in prison and fined 500,000 dirhams ($136,130) for "insulting symbols of the state" on social media.

The Jordan Press Association identified him as a journalist whose detention in 2015 over comments critising the UAE, among other countries, drew condemnation from international rights groups.

WAM said the Jordanian's social media accounts would be shut down and his equipment confiscated by authorities as part of his sentence.

He also faces deportation after having served his time in jail, it said.

He was detained in December 2015 and charged with violating the UAE's cybercrime law over Facebook comments.

Article 29 of the cybercrime law criminalises the publication online of information "with intent to make sarcasm or damage the reputation, prestige or stature of the State or... any of its symbols".

The Jordan Press Association plans to appeal the verdict.

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