UAE prosecutors warn public over hate speech penalties

A person found to have published offensive material would face substantial fines and jail time

UAE residents who spread hate speech relating to religion, race or culture will face major fines and jail time, federal prosecutors have warned.

Publishing hate speech material online or in physical documents could land offenders with at least one year in jail and a minimum fine of Dh50,000.

UAE Public Prosecution issued the renewed warning over the 2015 legislation in a social media video on Saturday.

Article 12 on Combatting Discrimination and Hatred outlaws the "possession and distribution of documents, publications and recordings that provoke hatred".

It covers the publication of any document, recordings, film or software that could offend religions, incite discrimination or contain hate speech.

This extends to comments made on social media and government officials previously said it covers discriminatory job adverts.

The maximum fine is Dh200,000 in addition to a prison sentence.

The prosecution authority said it would "continue to crack down on racism and discrimination, including ethnic, religious and cultural discrimination".

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