British detained in Dubai for “twitter abuse”

David Haigh (facebook)

David Haigh (facebook)

An ex-football club executive accused of social media crimes in Dubai will have to spend Christmas in prison, after his case was adjourned until January, according to BBC report.

Ex-Leeds United managing director David Haigh pleaded not guilty to cyber slander at a Dubai hearing on Monday. Haigh had been due to complete a two-year prison sentence in Dubai for financial misappropriation.

He says he could not have committed the alleged Twitter offence while in jail, since according to him he didn’t have an access to a computer in jail. The tweets on the account are written in the third person and the account description states it is “managed for ex Leeds Utd FC MD while he remains in a Dubai jail”.

The authorities in Dubai and the investment bank at the center of the social media complaint have both so far not commented on the matter. As the maximum penalty for cyber slander is three years in prison and a fine of up to £5,500.

The social media case was adjourned until 4 January. Haigh’s solicitor said his client will not seek bail as he is already under a sentence of deportation so would be considered a flight risk.

The businessman had expected to return to the UK on 16 November, after serving 18 months behind bars. He was originally arrested in Dubai on 18 May last year, when he was detained without charge for 14 months and had his worldwide assets frozen.

In August 2015, he was convicted of misappropriating items of monetary value from a position of trust from his former Dubai-based employer and sentenced to two years in prison, which he already served the majority of it.

Mr. Haigh’s lawyer says he is considering seeking a retrial of his criminal conviction.

Cyber crime laws were introduced in the UAE in 2012 to make it an offence to use the internet to mock or deride organisations and individuals.

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