UAE: Social media users to face jail, if found sympathizing with Qatar

‘Gabriel accused US President Donald Trump of stirring up conflicts in the Middle East and risking a new arms race’
The United Arab Emirates has banned people from posting sympathizing posts towards Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported.
“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” UAE’s Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi spoke to Gulf News.
“According to the Federal Penal Code and the Federal law decree on Combating Information Technology Crimes, anyone who threatens the interests, national unity and stability of the UAE will face a jail term from three to 15 years, and a fine not less than AED 500,000 ($136,000),” the Federal Public Prosecution also announced.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting “extremism”.
The dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated after a recent hack of Qatar’s state-run news agency.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris that Qatar must end its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood before ties with other Gulf Arab states could be restored.
Hamas said in a statement that al-Jubeir’s remarks “constitute a shock for our Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations”.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accused US President Donald Trump of stirring up conflicts in the Middle East and risking a new arms race.
The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for Muslim nations to unite against “extremism”.
Qatar said there was “no legitimate justification” for several nations severing diplomatic ties and the decision was in “violation of its sovereignty”.