Breaking News: Today the Court Orders British Expat´s Deportation - Another Victim of Cybercrime (Charity) Laws. British resident who has lived in Dubai for 14 years has today been sentenced by Dubai Courts to a fine of AED 5,000 and deportation after a year long investigation into her activities. LL operates the website called “Volunteer in the UAE” which is designed to promote a community of volunteering, which falls well inside the legal provisions of the new Cybercrime laws. LL was well aware of the new laws and altered the structure of her organisation to ensure compliance when they came into force. Income that is earned as a result of the voluntary work is distributed to people in need. However, they do not raise charitable funds or promote donations to themselves.
However, almost a year ago, she found herself subjected to an investigation after the Department of Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities (http://www.iacad.gov.ae/) opened a police complaint. This is where her nightmare began. She was arrested, her passport confiscated and was rendered unable to work. Fortunately, she was granted bail, but every time she was taken to Court, she was handcuffed and transported to prison to then be re-released. She was confident though, that the judicial system would ultimately prove her innocence and was relieved when she was completely acquitted at the last court hearing. The Prosecutors though, decided to appeal and were successful. LL believes that the reason they were successful is because of an error in translation from English to Arabic where “Subscribe here” was incorrectly translated to “Donate here”. LL is very distraught at the result saying “it was completely unexpected”. She is lodging an appeal with the Court of Cassations and we hope that they will be competent enough to overturn today’s ruling. Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai commented ¨We note that the Islamic Affairs Department is actively surveying social media, hunting down potential violators of the UAE´s newly enacted Cybercrime Laws relating to the promotion of fundraising. They do not apply any due diligence before making a report to the police, leaving innocent people like this long term resident, to deal with the ramifications of their frivolous accusations¨. Stirling continues “Rumours are circulating in the UAE that the Islamic Affairs Department is making these claims to protect their own financial vested interests but also as a show to the government that they are performing their new duties with vigour. We are disappointed that LL was unsuccessful in her defence, basically because it wasn’t even heard by the courts, but hopeful that the decision will be overturned. Obviously, even a successful outcome at the Court of Cassation does not compensate her for her sufferance”. The UAE government needs to take urgent to stop the Islamic Affairs Department from becoming the social media police. The Islamic Affairs Department was responsible for reporting Scott Richards, an Australian National, who was detained unnecessarily for several weeks before the Prosecution dropped his charges. The application of the Cybercrime Laws, combined with the ruthless pursuit of charitably minded "criminals" has been spotlighted in the international media and will continue to be so until the UAE tidies up the legislative mess it has created”. PRESS CONTACT: Radha Stirling email@example.com +44 7050 686 745 http://www.radhastirling.com/ Skype: Radha.Stirling Twitter: @radhastirling Facebook: RadhaStirling