An American citizen has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for comments he posted on Facebook while in the US. BBC reports:
Helicopter mechanic, Ryan Pate wrote the Facebook post while in Florida after arguing with employer, Global Aerospace Logistics (Gal) over sick leave. On returning to Abu Dhabi from Florida, he was arrested for breaking the country’s strict cyber-slander laws.
His trial is due to start on 17 March and he could face up to five years in jail and a large fine if found guilty. Mr Pate’s dispute with his employer began in December last year when he sought to extend his holiday to see a doctor about a long-standing back injury. After being told he could not extend his leave, Mr Pate posted a rant about the Abu Dhabi-based firm on his Facebook page.
In the post, Mr Pate called Gal “backstabbers” and warned other contractors about working for the firm. He also complained about life in the UAE and used a racial slur against the region’s people.
He returned to Abu Dhabi in order to resign but soon after arriving he was called by police who told him to report to a nearby police station. On attending he was shown screenshots of the Facebook message and told his employer had filed charges accusing him of breaking wide-ranging Emirates laws that ban slander.