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Mon 14 Mar 2016 10:40 AM

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Dubai hotel security chief in dock over accusations of blasphemy

Emirati denies insulting Christianity and committing indecent act, two other suspects also deny charges

Dubai hotel security chief in dock over accusations of blasphemy

The head of security at a five-star hotel in Dubai has denied insulting Christianity during a Christmas party held in December.

According to Gulf News, the Emirati was said to have disparaged the religion verbally and committed “an indecent gesture in public” during the party. The incident was recorded by an Egyptian manager also working at the hotel on his phone, who then forwarded it to a Sudanese colleague.

The footage was then posted on Instagram.

The incident was brought to light when the Emirati attended a police station on 29 December, complaining that his privacy had been breached by the decision to post the clip on social media.

The National reported that a policeman had told the Dubai Criminal Court that: “He told us that after the Christmas party was over, he was just having fun and stood behind the microphone saying, ‘Merry Christmas and wishing you the best,’ before he said, ‘To hell, and evil is such a destination’. He then pointed at his private parts in a gesture of degradation."

Prosecutors then accused the Emirati suspect of blasphemy and committing a publicly indecent act. The Egyptian and Sudanese colleagues have been accused of breaching the Emirati’s privacy and committing an act that insults a religion using information technology.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The next hearing in the case will be on 27 March.