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Tue 8 Dec 2015 01:55 PM

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Dubai court flips ruling on Facebook insult

Public prosecution argues that 'offensive' post can be shared and cause reputational damage

Dubai court flips ruling on Facebook insult
(Getty Images)

Dubai’s highest court has overturned an earlier ruling that acquitted a man of insulting a woman on Facebook, according to reports.

The case was re-examined after the public prosecution challenged the verdict by the Court of Appeal, Khaleej Times reported.

The prosecution argued that the ruling misrepresented the law in assuming that the Facebook page on which the alleged insult was posted was private and not accessible to the general public.

The prosecution argued that it was in fact possible to share the post and make it visible to a much larger group of people, thereby potentially causing substantial damage to the victim’s reputation.

Dubai’s Court of Cassation has ruled that the case be referred back to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing by a different panel of judges.

Nabil Ahmed Rashid Al Khadim, an appeals chief prosecutor, noted: “Even if the Facebook page is not accessible to general public, posting derogatory comments defames a person and damages his or her reputation.”

He reportedly said the defendant should be punished under article 20 of federal law number five, which stipulates that anybody who insults or makes any person the subject of contempt through social networking websites or using IT services can be jailed and/or ordered to pay a fine of between AED250,000 ($68,061) and AED500,000.