UAE orders arrest of four men for video harassing Asian worker

Arab residents wanted for posting video of themselves kicking, pushing and throwing socks at a worker

A screen grab from a blurred video showing men, described as Arab residents, assaulting an Asian resident as he walked along the street. UAE prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for the men. Wam
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Four men have been arrested in the UAE after video footage emerged of an Asian worker being pushed and kicked.

The men, described as Arab residents, filmed and posted a video on social media of themselves pushing, kicking, inappropriately touching and throwing socks at an Asian man.

In the video, the victim appears shocked but does not respond. The acts are interspersed with clips of the offenders laughing.

It is unclear in which emirate the harassment took place.

On Friday, state news agency Wam reported that UAE public prosecution had ordered the arrest and provisional detention of the four men for "offending an Asian resident". A video showing the assault was posted too but was blurred to protect the identity of the harassed man.

The men face charges of "physical abuse, violation of privacy using media outlets and immoral conduct", Wam said.

The video prompted outrage on social media, with Twitter users describing the behaviour in the video as uncivilised and "completely unconnected to Islam".

Others suggested the offenders be charged with racism and be imprisoned and deported for their acts. Most applauded the move to arrest the men.

The UAE has strict anti-discrimination laws and anti-hate speech laws, which were introduced in 2015. The penalties range from six-month jail sentences to more than 10 years in prison, and fines from Dh50,000 to Dh2 million.

This extends to social media and the country also has cybercrime laws that protect an individual's privacy should someone post content without their consent.

A fine of between Dh500,000 and Dh1 million can be imposed on anyone who owns or runs a website involved or publishes information online with the aim to incite hatred, according to the latest UAE Cybercrimes Law amendment issued in 2018.

Last year, prosecutors ordered the arrest of an Emirati media personality for making racist comments in a video online that  “sought to create divisions based on ethnicity and nationality among the various communities living in the UAE”.