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Tue 17 Dec 2013 12:37 PM

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Comedians charged with endangering UAE national security

Five men, who have been in jail for 8mths, await verdict after they posted video mocking Satwa online

Comedians charged with endangering UAE national security
\nThe five men, including two Emirati brothers, an American originally from Sri Lanka and two Indians, have been in jail for eight months, accused of mocking Dubai in a comedy video posted on Youtube.

A verdict in the trial of five men accused of mocking Dubai in a comedy video posted online has again been delayed.

The men, including two Emirati brothers, an American originally from Sri Lanka and two Indians, have been in jail for eight months pending the court’s decision, which is now due on Monday, according to UAE newspaper The National.

They have been charged with endangering national security, according to the American’s lawyer.

During the 19-minute video filmed in a Satwa garage the men act out scenes in which they use martial arts against youth gangs.

At times they wield weapons including pieces of Emirati national dress, the agal (the black rope worn around the male headdress) and the naal (leather slippers).

In court, the men have argued they did not intend to damage the UAE’s reputation and only intended to created a comedy.

The video, called Satwa Comedy School, begins with a disclaimer saying: “The following events are fictional and no offence was intended to the people of Satwa and UAE”.

The defence lawyer also claims the video was posted on YouTube a month before the cyber crime law they have been charged under was enacted.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the American’s family had been told a verdict would be issued on October 28, but it has been postponed five times, most recently because a judge was waiting for an Arabic translation of the video.