How swearing at your coworker via WhatsApp could cost you $68,000

Pro-tip: Don't be in the UAE

A bloke in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is facing hefty fines and possibly deportation after he swore at a colleague on WhatsApp, it is reported.

He was ordered to cough up DHS 3,000 (£521, US$816) by the Mid-East nation's lower courts after he was found guilty of breaking cyber-crime laws by sending the insulting message. However, his prosecutors thought that punishment was far too lenient, and demanded a retrial.

This week, a senior judge agreed with the lawyers, leaving the Arab man facing a much larger fine of DHS 250,000 (£43,500, US$68,000), and the threat of deportation, under new hardline cyber-abuse laws – this is assuming he is convicted a second time.

The bloke denies any wrongdoing, and was earlier cleared of threatening his colleague via the Facebook-owned service. After he lost his rag with his coworker, the colleague showed the WhatsApp messages to the cops.

“The message from the defendant, which contained insulting words, was found in the victim’s mobile phone”, prosecutors reportedly told the nation's Federal Supreme Court.

The court did not repeat what was sent by the defendant.

In May, the UAE passed sweeping laws forbidding the use of profanity and obscene gestures in instant messages, allowing courts to fine people up to DHS 500,000 if they break the rules. According to news website Emirates 24/7, the law applies to UAE citizens and foreign nationals – the latter could be subject to deportation proceedings under the law. ®

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