UAE has dropped the charges against Scott Richards for supporting a charity on Facebook
The UAE has dropped charges against Scott Richards for promoting a charity online! Great job everyone.
Scott Richards, an Australian & British National was arrested, detained and charged under the UAE´s relatively new Cybercrime Laws for supporting a charity on social media that was not registered in the UAE.
Richards' case attracted international broadcast media due to the absurd nature of the charges and the fact that half of Facebook users were potentially also in breach of these peculiar laws.
Although this is wonderful news for Scott Richards, it should not be considered a precedent by any means. Unless the laws are redrafted, others are likely to be charged under the same categories in the future and all UAE residents should exercise particular diligence when using social media.
The media campaign to support Scott made the government aware that most of the population were ignorant of how these new laws would be applied and so it is possible that they have simply been lenient in this matter. However, now that the laws have been well publicised, we do not expect authorities to be as sympathetic with subsequent violators.
It is illegal to promote charities that are not UAE registered on social media and even on WhatsApp. Don't hit the "like" button and risk imprisonment.
A big thank you to everyone who was involved with the campaign to free Scott.