World, Middle East

UAE threatens Qatar sympathizers with jail

UAE says showing sympathy with Qatar would constitute a "crime"

UAE threatens Qatar sympathizers with jail

By Ahmed al-Masri

DOHA, Qatar

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has threatened anyone showing sympathy with Qatar with up to 15 years in prison.

State-run Albayan daily quoted Attorney General Hamad al-Shamsi saying that expressing sympathy to Qatar or opposing the decision to cut ties with Doha via social media or by writing would constitute a "crime" punishable with up to 15 years in prison and a $136,000 fine.

On Monday, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar denied the accusations, saying the move to cut ties with it was "unjustified" and aimed to impose guardianship on the Gulf country.

The new escalation came two weeks after the website of Qatar’s official news agency was allegedly hacked by unknown individuals who reportedly published statements falsely attributed to its emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani.

The incident triggered a diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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