A new federal law in the United Arab Emirates prohibits people to swear or use foul words on instant messaging app Whatsapp. Those found flouting this rule would have to cough up a fine of Dh250,000 ($68,061) and even face an imprisonment.
The law also threatens to deport expatriates, Emirates 24/7 reported.
The Federal Supreme Court in the UAE had passed the new law during the sentencing of a man, who was found guilty of swearing on Whatsapp.
Two lower courts in the UAE had fined a man Dh3,000 ($816.74) after convicting him for using obscene and foul words on Whatsapp. However, a prosecutor filed an appeal with the UAE Supreme Court, stating that the sentencing was "too lenient" and asked the guilty to be fined Dh250,000 or face imprisonment.
"FSC supported the prosecutor's appeal and affirmed the need for the enforcement of the law governing information technology crimes involving a Dh250,000 fine and deportation from the country," Emirates 24/7 reported, citing the UAE Supreme Court.
A UAE Supreme Court ruling in 2014 had made online verbal insult a punishable offence across all the Emirates, The National had reported. The order was passed in October 2014, when a man was ordered by a Sharjah court to pay Dh10,000 ($2722.46) as compensation to the woman he had insulted on a Dubai-based news website.
The man had argued that the Sharjah court had no right to fine him. It was then that the UAE Supreme Court stepped in and passed the law, making online verbal insult a punishable offence across the UAE.