A British Estate Agent Was Jailed In Dubai Over A WhatsApp Message

“It was a nightmare. The prison conditions were horrific. I was treated appallingly — all for sending a WhatsApp message,” the man said.

An estate agent in the United Arab Emirates paid a hefty price for expressing his frustration over his second-hand car, which broke down hours after he bought it.

Yaseen Killick, who is originally from the United Kingdom, spent over $8,000 on a secondhand Volkswagen Golf, only to find out it had previously been written-off in a crash by insurers but then cheaply rebuilt.

Killick sent the dodgy car dealer a charged message over WhatsApp, asking, “How do you sleep at night knowing you are ripping people off?” 

He also mentioned in his messages what the dealer was doing was “morally wrong” and threatened to take him to court for selling him the unsafe vehicle. 

However, the 29-year-old, who had moved to Dubai with his wife 31-year-old wife Robyn, was arrested after the car dealer complained to the cops.

When the couple was heading to the airport to catch a flight back home to celebrate Christmas with family, officials detained Killick.

He had to spend three weeks in prison, for the crime of sending an infuriated WhatsApp message.

“It was a nightmare. The prison conditions were horrific. I was treated appallingly — all for sending a WhatsApp message,” lamented Killick.

He was also fined over $1,300 dollars.

“We have lost our home and our jobs and it's been horrible all over this guy ripping us off and we are so badly out of pocket,” his wife said, explaining their ordeal.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident of this nature to be reported in the Middle Eastern country.

“The United Arab Emirates has some of the strictest cyber crime laws in the world and many people have fallen foul of them — even if they are outside of Dubai,” explained Radha Stirling, from UAE-based British civil and criminal justice specialist group Detained In Dubai.

“Anyone who sends a message to someone in Dubai on electronic media that is critical or a complaint then they can find themselves subject to a police investigation and if convicted they can be fined or even imprisoned,'' she added.

Meanwhile, Killick had to spend Christmas in jail.

“When everyone was tucking into turkey I had beans, pumpkins and lentils,” he said.

While the country follows stringent cyber laws, several other seemingly harmless acts are considered as crimes in the United Arab Emirates.  

Thumbnail/Banner : Reuters

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