UAE threatens Qatari sympathizers with jail terms up to 15yrs after diplomatic rift

UAE subjects may be punished by a jail term of up to 15 years for expressing sympathies for Qatar, the Emirati Attorney General warned after key Arab states cut ties with Doha. Even tweeting criticism against the UAE’s anti-Qatar stance may be punished.

“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Counselor Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi told Arab media on Wednesday, the Gulf News reported.

The Federal Public Prosecution office said the UEA law provides a punishment of three to 15 years in jail to anyone threatening the interests, national unity or stability of the Arab nation. They can be also fined at least 500,000 AED ($135,000).

Fifteen nations, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar after accusing the Gulf kingdom of supporting terrorism.

The spat was triggered by a report by the Qatari news agency, which cited the country’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as criticizing Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iranian rhetoric. The nations later claimed the agency’s website had been hacked by unidentified attackers, who then used the access to spread a false report.
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