A man in Dubai will go to jail and be forced to pay a massive fine for comments he made insulting Prophet Muhammad and Muslims on Facebook.
After the Indian man, who worked as a welder, serves his one year sentence and pays a 500,000 dirham ($136,128) fine, he will be deported from the UAE, according to Gulf News.
The man was convicted of "blasphemy," although he denies the charges, claiming his Facebook was hacked.
A fellow Indian worker told police
A fellow Indian worker initially reported the incident to Dubai Police back in November.
The other man, who worked at a grocery store, said he was scrolling through Facebook when he noticed the offensive remarks. He then went to confront the man, who allegedly posted them.
"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 accuser said, according to The National.
Upon further investigation by police, it was discovered that the accused man logged out of his account the following day and deleted all his personal information.
An initial court decision in the case convicted the man earlier this year. The man then appealed the ruling, but the conviction was upheld.
UAE's anti-hate law criminalize all forms of discrimination
In the UAE, strict laws exist against hate speech, discrimination, and blasphemy. While this specific case involves criticism of Islam and Prophet Muhammad, the law technically forbids such insults directed toward any religion.
Back in 2015, the nation enforced a strict anti-hate law aiming to criminalize all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin, according to RT.
"Not only does the new law enforce tolerance on those who harbor hate, but also puts the UAE ahead of any other country in the world in terms of stifling anger over ‘those who may be different’ through stereotypes. There is no space in the UAE for this type of behavior because the phenomena [are] counterproductive, hurtful, and demeaning," Theodore Karasik, a geopolitical analyst, told the Gulf News at the time.
However, some rights groups expressed concerns that the law would be used to suppress free speech.