United Arab Emirates International Abdullah Qassem was handed a 12 week jail sentence by a local court for allegedly criticizing his national team manager in a video.
According to a story reported by the Guardian, 29 year old Qassem , who plays for a local club called Al-Dhafra in the UAE Arabian Gulf League, allegedly criticized and abused national team manager Mahdi Ali for not including him in the team.
According to several local newspapers, the Abu Dhabi Court of Misdemeanours handed out a 3 month jail sentence to Abdullah Qassem and another unnamed Al-Dhafra teammate of his who filmed the video.
The players were earlier suspended by Al-Dhafra in the immediate aftermath of the video release.
According to UAE’s law, the players were charged for “using telecommunications services to offend and hurt the feelings of others, and displaying a recording that breached public ethics through the internet.”
Qassem’s lawyer rubbished all allegations by arguing that the video was released without the permission of his client.
The United Arab Emirates along with other Gulf monarchies are infamous for their archaic laws which often infringe upon the freedom of expression of the common man. The case of Abdullah Qassem perfectly demonstrates the effects of religious ideology spilling on to the football pitch in the Arab world.
Here is how twitter reacted to the news story.
a Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) October 19, 2015
a Ben Cohen (@BenCohenOpinion) October 19, 2015
UAE player Abdullah Qassem has been sent to JAIL for 3 months for criticizing national team manager Mahdi Ali ?Y a The Sack Race (@thesackrace) October 19, 2015
a Alexandre Afonso (@alexandreafonso) October 19, 2015