UAE Threatens 15-year Jail Term for Anyone Showing Sympathy Toward Qatar

People who object to the Emirates' position on the issue – including on social media – would also be affected, local news outlets report

People gather outside a branch of Qatar Airways in the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi, June 6, 2017.
ALI KHALIL/AFP

The United Arab Emirates has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy toward 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 on Wednesday.

The United Arab Emirates, along with several other powerful Arab states, severed diplomatic ties with fellow Gulf state Qatar on Monday over its alleged support for Islamist groups and Iran. Qatar denies the accusations.

"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," Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

On top of a possible jail term, offenders would also be hit with a fine of at least 500,000 dirhams, the newspaper said, citing a statement to Arabic-language media.