Dubai appeals court upholds expat’s sentence for blasphemous Facebook post

The expat appeared at the appeal courts in Dubai (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 September 2017

Dubai appeals court upholds expat’s sentence for blasphemous Facebook post

DUBAI: Appeal courts in Dubai have upheld an earlier jail sentence handed down to an expat for posting blasphemous comments on Facebook.
The man, who worked as a welder will now serve the one-year sentence before being deported, as well as pay a 500,000 dirham fine ($136,100).
The man, from India, had claimed his Facebook account had been hacked and that he had not written the comments about the Prophet that were found on his timeline on Nov. 6, 2016.
However investigators revealed that the man had signed out of his account and deleted all his personal data the day after the comments were posted according to local press reports.
Despite denials that he had accessed the account at the time, prosecutors said similar comments had been made on his account in October 2016
Prosecutors told the court that the man also posted comments that insulted Arabs and described as a “chaotic religion,” according to UAE daily The National.
He was arrested after a fellow Indian expat reported him to police after seeing the remarks on Facebook.
“I felt so offended by the insults against my prophet so I asked a friend who knew the suspect and where he lived and I went to his house in Al Rashidiyah and found him drunk,” the grocery shop worker was quoted in The National as saying.
The defendant was convicted earlier this year, but lodged an appeal against the sentence.
Under UAE law blasphemy is illegal or to discriminate against a person because of their religion – and technically this law applies to all religions.


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.