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Teacher jailed in UAE for saying ‘camels are treated better than humans’ Open in fullscreen

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Teacher jailed in UAE for saying ‘camels are treated better than humans’

A man was arrested over a comment on a Facebook picture of a camel sign[Getty]

Date of publication: 9 April, 2019

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Wilke developed pneumonia during his nine month imprisonment in the UAE over a Facebook post.

Christian Wilke, a former teacher at Kate Middleton's school, was jailed in the UAE for a Facebook post in which he is alleged to have said that camels in the Gulf state are treated better than humans.

Wilke spent nine month imprisoned in the UAE over an "electronic insult", The Sun reported, in which time he developed pneumonia. He also suffered sleep deprivation and was denied a lawyer for 52 days.

Wilke formerly held the post of head of computing at Downe House School in Berkshire, attended by Kate Middleton. The British-German national was working as an IT Teacher at Brighton College Al-Ain, outside of Dubai, at the time of his arrest.

Wilke told The Sun he posted a picture on Facebook of a road sign with a camel on it, with the comment "Look how they care for their animals. Even in the desert you find a sign to stop for the camels".

A British academic commented on his post that the fine for killing camels was higher than for running a person over.

"All I did was answer: 'You might be right there'. Which is my point of view - I don't hold back when talking to colleagues," said Wilke.

Wilke was released from prison after a petition launched by his mother garnered 277,000 signatures. It called on the prime minister of the UAE and Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, to release her son.

He had earlier been told by one of his students that he "had been speaking too candidly about the authorities".

The UAE has repeatedly come under criticism for human rights abuses.

"Beyond the sun, sea and skyscrapers, most tourists are oblivious to the UAE's continued detention of foreigners who are arrested for behaviour deemed criminal under the country's harsh laws," said Sana Uqba in her piece Detained in Dubai.

A British woman was arrested in March over a Facebook post in which she compared her ex-husband's new wife to a horse. She faces up to two years prison in Dubai and a $65,000 fine

A British football fan attending the AFC Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi was detained in January for allegedly wearing the Qatar national team's jersey.

Wilke's mother, Christine Wilke-Breitsameter, said it was his British citizenship that saved her son.

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