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ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE

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New UAE anti-hate law used to silence critics

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3 years 5 months

New UAE anti-hate law used to silence critics

The new anti-discrimination law passed by the UAE authorities has been used to against a political critic just as human rights activists warned would happen. The law was passed last week to outlaw discrimination based on someone’s religion or race. The Emirati authorities said the law would be used to punish discrimination of this type and was lauded by the authorities as a step towards greater tolerance in the Gulf state and would guarantee “freedom of individuals”.

Human rights campaigners and NGOs warned that this new law could be dangerous in the current climate of political oppression in the UAE. Concerns were raised that the new law would be used to silence critics and continue the battle against free speech. The new law was seen as another nail in the coffin for freedoms in the UAE and this new law was expected to come at the expense of human rights.

This new law has now been used by the former head of Dubai police to launch legal proceedings against a Saudi writer. The Emirati former public official has used this new law, claiming that the Saudi writer has been using Twitter to criticise the UAE and using hate speech against the country.

The Saudi writer, Mohammed Al Hadif, has been critical of the UAE’s actions in Yemen and was previously banned by the Suadi authorities from using Twitter for his support of the Muslim Brotherhood and calling for Mohammed Morsi, former president of Egypt, to be reinstated.

As was warned last week following the announcement, this new law could be used to further stifle free speech in the UAE. In the first application of this new law this prediction has been rapidly realised. As the crackdown in the UAE continues, this new law suggests that the climate is worsening and any form of dissent could face even harsher repercussions.

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