Social Media Users Detained in UAE for Sharing Video of Unrelated Man and Woman having Conversation in Car
Four young GCC residents have been arrested in Abu Dhabi for sharing a viral video on social media of an unrelated man and woman having a conversation in a car.
The Abu Dhabi police department subsequently issued a warning that anybody engaging in 'reckless' behaviour would face the full force of the law.
The six minute video appears to show a man and a woman having a conversation in a car, despite not being related. The Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigations Department at Abu Dhabi Police, General Al Ghoul, stated that the content of the video not only violated the UAE's strict gender laws, but was deeply 'unethical' and 'offensive' to wider society.
The four youths, from an unnamed GCC country, who shared the video were identified by the police departments' electronic patrol team who tracked their social media accounts.
In recent years, the UAE authorities have rapidly stepped up monitoring and surveillance techniques concerning the online activities of internet users within its borders. In 2012, the UAE government instituted the vague 'cybercrime law' which allowed the authorities to more effectively control and sanction online activity around social media sites.
Critics have long maintained that the cybercrime law heavily contravenes rights around freedom of expression and assembly in the UAE, and that it is merely a technique used by authorities to silence divergent opinions and dissenting voices in the country.
In 2016 alone, around 300 people were detained for voicing opinions on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This latest case is illustrative of the increasingly coercive nature of the Emirati security state where draconian measures have been implemented to shut down avenues of free speech and expression in the online sphere, and wider society more broadly.
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