Using middle finger emoji in UAE: A crime that could land you in court

Dubai: If you are living in UAE, you should know the dangers of flipping middle finger at someone as it could land you in prison.

Nonetheless, legal experts have now also cautioned that sending an ‘emoji’ finger-flick gesture in a message or on social media could also land you in hot waters.

In March, 2015 we reported that using VPN in UAE is a punishable crime. Now the UAE police has warned sending middle finger emoji to anyone within UAE is also a punishable crime.

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Police and lawyers issued the warning after Microsoft announced being the first company to enable users to use the finger flipping option on its latest operating system Windows 10 upon its launch in upcoming months.

Making such a gesture in person in the UAE is illegal and could mean fines or even jail. A Criminal defense lawyer Abdullah Yousef Al Nasir, told 7DAYS that according to cyber-crime law, anyone using abusive jargons so much as sending an offensive emoji or image such as: a middle finger emoji on a smartphone or email online could be impeached.

He further added that such a gesture is considered an insult in the UAE and the law can punish the offender with either jail of up to three years or a fine of up to Dhs500,000, in case of an expat, if convicted they are likely to be deported.

Though, Al Nasir said it’s obligatory that Police receives a formal complaint from the person at the receiving end for the penalty to take place, which basically means that a thing done out of humor could mean trouble so its recommended that everyone acts responsibly.

Al Nasir emphasized upon the importance of cordiality that it is missing nowadays as people take pleasure in hurling abuses out of fun at each other using social media such as What Sapp or BlackBerry messenger. The UAE takes cyber-crimes very seriously and acts very strongly against the abuse of technology.

A senior Dubai Police official advised smartphone users to think before posting an offensive message or image over SMS or Emails. The sender can land in big trouble if the receiver takes a serious offense and reports it to the Police.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.