The photo depicted the complainant as a dog.
The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours has ordered a teacher to pay a Dh10,000 fine after he was found guilty of a defamation charge.
The teacher, a 31-year-old from India, was convicted of posting an altered picture of another man on his Instagram account, depicting him as a dog.
The court confiscated his smartphone, took down the post and shut down his account on Instagram.
According to public prosecution records, the case dates back to April 2019. A complaint was filed at Al Rashidiya police station.
On June 4, 2019, the complainant, a 40-year-old Indian manager, learned that the defendant posted a photo of him on his Instagram account by altering it and adding a dog’s picture with a caption reading ‘we have a new breed of dogs for sale.’
The manager reported him to the criminal investigation department and the cybercrime department. The defendant was apprehended and his phone seized and sent to the general directorate of criminal evidence and forensics.
During interrogation, the accused admitted to the charge. The complainant told the investigator that he learned from an Indian woman about the post which the latter claimed was also shared on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The accused confessed he posted the message online while in his home country. During the trial hearing, the defendant denied the charge.
Acting on behalf of the teacher, defence lawyer Hani Hammouda of Kefah Al Zaabi firm for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy argued that the Dubai Courts was not the competent authority to look into the case as the incident took place outside of the UAE. He also argued that the case should be dismissed because the complaint was filed after the legal deadline, as per article 10 of the criminal procedures law.
He also requested the court to modify the charge to online insult, which is penalised by the penal code.
Among the lawyer’s requests was summoning the complainant and a Dubai Police forensic expert for testimony in court. Hammouda will appeal the court decision.
Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, she worked as an in-house reporter of international affairs at a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for a renowned law academy in the Lebanese capital. Speaks fluently four languages and is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more, and has grown by now a rich ‘criminal’ imagination…
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