Australian artist victim of free speech
Australian Artist, Jodi Magi, has been detained by the Emirati authorities after posting a picture of a car parked across two disabled parking bays outside her home in the UAE.
After the post received complaints, Jodi Magi was detained by authorities when she presented herself at court. The state claimed that she had used “bad words” on her Facebook post and detained her under the Cyber Crimes Act of 2012.
The Cyber Crimes Act has been used to prevent the growth of dissent in the UAE and political activists in particular have faced the consequence of detention and prison for their use of social media. Earlier this year the Suwaidi sisters were forcibly disappeared for 3 months after they called for the release of their brother, Dr Issa Khalifa al Suwaidi on Twitter.
Osama al Najjar, one of the more prominent victims of social media repression, was arrested and tortured during his detention after he used Twitter critically to air his opinions on the UAE authorities.
Jodi Magi, has become the latest victim of free speech, although not airing political thoughts, the UAE have detained her as part of their on-going attempts to control freedom of expression. The Cyber Crime Act is not only focusing on activists, but expats are now also facing the brunt of this – one American faced the wrath of the authorities after a YouTube posting.