Omani on trial for spreading rumours that harmed UAE

MSR, 31, is accused of creating and managing several online accounts on different websites, where he published rumours, ideas and information that spread hatred and ruined the general unity and peace of the UAE.

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ABU DHABI // An Omani man on trial at the Federal Supreme Court for publishing harmful material on social media has claimed he is mentally ill.

M S R, 31, is accused of creating and managing several online accounts on websites including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Blogger, where he published rumours, ideas and information that spread hatred and ruined the general unity and peace of the UAE.

His posts also ridiculed and attempted to ruin the reputation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the prosecution said.

M S R denied the accusations.

His lawyer, Saeed Al Zahmi, said the “topics were intertwined” on the various social media platforms. He requested that his client be bailed while he worked on M S R’s defence.

Judge Shihab Al Hammadi refused the request, but allowed the defendant to speak.

M S R said he was suicidal and had “a chronic mental disorder that had worsened in prison”. He asked the court to allow him access to medication and monthly check-ups in the hospital.

“I didn’t receive treatment in two months and my health is deteriorating,” he said.

“I don’t want to point fingers or blame anyone but I am suicidal and I need to be treated to prevent another suicide attempt.”

He also asked to be allowed to have an ophthalmology test because he had poor vision in his right eye.

The judge said a medical practitioner at the prison would be assigned to look after him, then adjourned the case to October 5.

The defendant is being tried under the country's new internet crimes law.

The hearing was attended by a representative from the embassy of Oman.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae