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Sun 25 Sep 2016 10:40 AM

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UAE said to drop charity charges against Dubai expat

Scott Richards was arrested in July for posting online about Afghan charity

UAE said to drop charity charges against Dubai expat
In this undated photograph provided by the advocacy group Detained in Dubai, British-Australian dual national Scott Richards is seen in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Richards, who wanted to raise money for Afghans who fled their countrys long war, has been detained by Dubai police for weeks over promoting a charity, his supporters say. (Detained in Dubai photo via AP)

The UAE has reportedly dropped charges against a British-Australian expat arrested in Dubai for illegally promoting a US charity.

Scott Richards’ supporters claim he was arrested on July 28 for attempting to raise money for a charity that aims to support Afghan refugees.

Under new laws that took effect last year, UAE residents are forbidden from promoting and encouraging people to donate to a charity not registered in the country without government permission.

Richards, a dual national living in Dubai and working as an economic development advisor, had allegedly posted online about the Zwan Family Charity’s efforts to provide displaced Afghan families with tarps for living.

The Associated Press reported last month that Richards had been released on bail following his arrest and was back home with his family, according to a statement from Radha Stirling, founder of advocacy group Detained in Dubai.

The group, which assisted in Richards’ defence, has since claimed the UAE has dropped charges against Richards, AP reported this week.

The group said many UAE residents were previously unaware that hitting
charities’ “like” buttons on Facebook constituted promotion and
awareness-raising under the new laws, and could face imprisonment.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Red Snappa 3 years ago

Would someone be kind enough to explain fully, why it is now a crime to hit the 'like' button on external charities on Facebook, which only means you will be provided with more information, is that considered promotion. For example Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children which do so much good in the region. Or are these charities classed as registered in UAE

A comprehensive article in AB based on the findings of advocacy group Detained on the subject would be extremely valuable and much appreciated by the expatriate community. Including a full list of UAE registered charities. Should this also been included on foreign government guide to travellers pages. Otherwise, any kind hearted philanthropist could unwittingly find themselves caught in a similar scenario!

Surely that is not the intention behind these new laws?

Telcoguy 3 years ago

Because essentially you only know if something was legal after the fact. Maybe this has something to do with the difficulty to attract qualified people here.

What happens if you as an economist have a negative outlook on a company here.

But no worries, WHJ will shortly explain all this to us.