By Andrew White
Photo competition hopeful accused of taking prohibited pictures in UAE capital.
An amateur photographer who said that he was trying to win a photography competition was jailed for taking prohibited pictures in Abu Dhabi.
The man, a Pakistani living in Sharjah, was also relieved of his passport and fined $270 after he was found guilty of taking photos of Mina Zayed, an area of the UAE capital which includes military facilities and docked warships.
The man said he was taking pictures at sunset for a competition entitled ‘Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes’, according to UAE daily The National.
Crossing the newly opened Khalifa Bridge, the man took several photos in the direction of Abu Dhabi and the port. The newspaper reported that as he left, he became aware he was being followed by a white Honda with a Dubai licence plate.
The Honda belonged to the army, who called the police. The man was taken to a holding cell where he was left for two days, before being released on bail on confiscation of his passport.
“When the police came,” the man said, “they said that I was taking pictures of the military zone, but how am I supposed to know that? There are no signs that say ‘no photography’. This bridge has been under construction for five years and there are no signs.”
While the man has now paid his fine, he is still awaiting the return of his passport and camera, the newspaper added.
In most countries, you have signs stating where photography is prohibited. Even in the UAE there are plenty of places where we see signs prohibiting photography. So why was this man jailed when there was so such sign in place? I have seen plenty of people taking pictures from there
The public and media should not jump into any conclusions as the police is still investigating this matter. There should be a proper background check including the electronic communications before arriving at the final decision. The security of the country is of utmost importance to any nation and there should not be any compromise in this regard. Government on thier side should clearly put signs informing the general public of the restrictions.
It is really shocking that such rules and punitive actions are still atken in 2010. The photographer could not have taken more detailed photographs even if he had malicious intent than are alerady available free of charge to anyone in the world on Google Earth. The silly Photography Prohibited signs at public spaces need to be relegated to a museum, because that is where they belong.
I have a hunch the police made a mistake here. I'm pretty sure they looked at the pictures taken, and found them all to be with aesthetic intent, as any photographer would take of sceneries. photos for espionage are usually detailed, with zooms of buildings, installations and personnel positions. they arrested him on the spot, jailed him, examined his camera, found nothing of military value, released him. that's all there is to this story, folks. -- langyaw
Well, I am 100% with the Army and Police. This man may or may not have seen a sign, the fact remains, the UAE has all the right to protect its security. I myslef was arrested in my own country 22 years ago for taking too many photos where at the time all my country was a military area, I was arrested for 3 hours and wasn't sure where I will end up or if I will make it. Couple years later I had joined the military and I understood the concerns they have. Yes, I hate SALIK but I also LOVE the UAE and do not wish to take any risk with its security. The Police here (and the Army) are very curteous compared to many Middle Eastern Countries and even some western countries. I don't know why this thing deserves even an article. That is my opinion. P.S.: Remember that we do not live in a safe world and you have all kinds of crazy people who might be a risk to this country or any country.
You can see inside the permieter all the signed 'no photography' sites in Abu Dhabi on Googe Earth. Airbases, Ports, Palaces, you name it. In this modern context, this arrest is pathethic.