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U.A.E. Law Restricts Online Criticism of Government, WAM Reports

The United Arab Emirates issued regulations for Internet users that makes some online behavior a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment, the official Emirates News Agency, known as WAM, reported.

The publication of material that would “endanger the security of the state and its supreme interests” contravenes federal law, WAM reported. Calling for regime change, threatening the legal system and organizing demonstrations are punishable with prison sentences, it said.

The European Parliament in October called for the U.A.E. government to respect human-rights, to conduct thorough and unbiased investigations into allegations of assault and to release immediately prisoners of conscience and activists. The U.A.E. arrested more than 60 people tied to the domestic Islamist group known as Islah and some of the detainees may have been tortured and denied legal representation, the EU assembly said.

The regulation will punish those who use the Internet or information technology to offend Islam, the news service said.

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