International

UAE Criminalizes Sympathy Towards Qatar, Imposing Up to 15 Years Jail Penalty

UAE Criminalizes Sympathy Towards Qatar, Imposing Up to 15 Years Jail Penalty

A shop with a picture of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani is seen in Doha, Qatar, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

After severance of diplomatic ties earlier this week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to ban any form of sympathy with the tiny Gulf State of Qatar, threatening sympathizers with jail terms of up to 15 years and an AED 500 thousand fine.

The UAE, along with nine other countries, decided to cut ties with Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism. However, Qatar denies the accusations.

UAE’s top prosecutor warned against showing sympathy with Qatar on social media platforms, stating that it is a “crime”.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that the repercussions of cutting ties on the Qatari economy should convince it to reconsider its policies.

Both Saudi Arabia and UAE insisted that ties won’t be restored unless Qatar cuts all its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood group, Iran, and Hamas Palestinian group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his support for Qatar, saying that the isolation of the oil-rich country is not in anyone’s interest. He added that Qatar is leading an “effective fight” against terrorism.

Following the closure of borders with Qatar, Qatari citizens were stocking up on food and supplies in fear of shortage. However, officials told Reuters that Qatar has a big amount of reserves in Doha. Moreover, it is in talks with Turkey and Iran to secure food supplies that were mainly imported from Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait’s emir has been trying to mediate to put an end to the escalating conflict. Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman are the only countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that haven’t been involved in the severance decision.

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