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Thu 16 Jul 2015 05:08 PM

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Facebook case 'would never happen in Qatar', says ex-justice minister

Australian expat Jodi Magi was deported from UAE this week for a picture and comments she posted on her Facebook page

Facebook case 'would never happen in Qatar', says ex-justice minister

Qatar’s former justice minister has waded into public discussion over the Australian woman deported from the UAE for posting “insulting” words on Facebook, saying the incident would never have happened in Qatar.

Jodi Magi, 39, was held for 48 hours in an Abu Dhabi prison and then deported on Tuesday.

She had posted a picture on her Facebook wall of a vehicle parked across two disabled parking spaces outside her apartment, but which had no disability stickers displayed.

Although she blanked out the car’s registration plate, a complaint was lodged with Abu Dhabi Police and a court convicted her this week of “writing bad words on social media”.

Doha News reported on Thursday that Qatar’s former justice minister Dr Najeeb Al Nuaimi said the chances of a similar incident happening to either a Qatari or an expat in Qatar is “highly unlikely”.

He reportedly said that is because Qatar and the UAE differ in their definitions of slander, libel and public shaming.

“In Qatar, the local government would regard sharing such a photo as a “a mark of public service”, he said, adding: “We have Qataris posting all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram [about] things they don’t like, or wrong things they see…[in Qatar], it’s seen as doing something good.”

However, Al Nuaimi said under Qatar law, residents could still be prosecuted for publicly shaming a person or a business.

A source confirmed to The National on Wednesday that a European woman had complained to police that Magi had uploaded a photo of her car along with “insulting and degrading words”.

The case has attracted international attention and Magi has described her arrest and subsequent deportation as “an extreme reaction” on her Facebook wall since leaving the UAE.

In the latest developments in the story, Magi on Thursday published a picture of what she claims is a printout of her original post.

In a comment written above it, Magi says: “The 'bad word' or 'foul language' I used is 'nobness' meant in the way it is referred to in the first paragraph of the Oxford dictionary meaning…‘a person of wealth or high social position’.

“I was referring to the behaviour of the car owning [sic] acting in an entitled way through their creative parking.”