UAE: 'Harley Davidson couple' sues over internet death threats

UAE: 'Harley Davidson couple' sues over internet death threats
3 min read
04 Apr, 2016
An Emirati biker bride who became an internet sensation last month has taken legal action against 35 people for threatening and insulting her and husband online.
The couple rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a convoy of more than 60 bikers [YouTube/Amman al-Youm]

An Emirati biker couple have filed complaints against 35 people for threatening and insulting them online, Emirati website The National reported on Monday.

The 29-year-old bride, Nadia Hussain, said she was subjected to death threats and insults from social media commentators since her wedding, when she and her husband Salem al-Muraikhi rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a convoy of more than 60 bikers.

The couple had to cancel their honeymoon to the Seychelles because they could not leave their Dubai hotel room after their wedding night, she added.

"There were threats saying they will slit our throats," Hussain said, "and our phones never stopped ringing."

The bride was accused of violating UAE traditions and values, as well as breaking the rules of hijab with her 'inappropriate' outfit.

The couple featured in a video report by Jordanian website Amman al-Youm, which they invited to cover their wedding.

Two of the people Hussain filed cases against at the Court of Misdemeanours have been referred to Public Prosecution, with the first court hearing scheduled for 17 April.

One of them is a media personality with 10,000 followers, who made a video that Hussain claimed had defamed her.

The bride was accused of breaking the rules
of hijab with her 'inappropriate' outfit
[YouTube/Amman al-Youm]

"From that video alone we took out 12 offences that are punishable by the law," she said.

The second defendant is a member of the biker group to which she and her husband belong.

"All the cases have been filed under defamation and verbal insults," she explained.

"They have hurt me enough with extreme insults and are still looking for me, and they offended my husband's manhood."

Ali al-Mansouri, a lawyer representing the accused media personality, said the online comments were trivial and described the incident as "an intrusive trend to the UAE society".

"Every person has the right be creative in their wedding – we do not have a problem with that – but when it affects the norm and modesty features there is an issue," he said.

If a bride was walking the streets in her wedding gown, he added, she would be stopped by the police "because this is a violation of public order".

The UAE's cybercrime law 5/2012 criminalises all forms of "electronic abuse".

According to the law, anyone found guilty of a cybercrime could face up to life imprisonment and/or a fine varying between 50,000 Dirhams ($13,600) and three million Dirhams ($816,800).

The law can also punish people who use "foul language" on the WhatsApp messaging service with fines of up to $68,000 - and expatriates can expect to be deported.