Australian woman deported from UAE after Facebook post

Artist released from Abu Dhabi jail after posting picture showing a vehicle blocking disabled car spaces.

    Magi said she moved to Abu Dhabi in 2012, where she taught Emirati women graphic design [jodimagi.com]
    Magi said she moved to Abu Dhabi in 2012, where she taught Emirati women graphic design [jodimagi.com]

    An Australian woman has been released from an Abu Dhabi jail and deported after being arrested for posting an image on Facebook of a vehicle blocking two disabled car spots at her apartment block.

    Jodi Magi was arrested and jailed on Monday for writing "bad words" on social media, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

    The 39-year-old artist posted a statement on Facebook on Tuesday night, saying that she had been released.

    Obviously, I think a $3600 fine and deportation with a complimentary incarceration period was an extreme reaction to a jpg of a car...

    Jodi Magi, Australian artist

    "After 53 hours in custody, having been shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow and having no access to toilet paper or eating utensils, I can happily say I AM SAFE & OUT OF JAIL AND ABU DHABI!," Magi's statement said.

    "If you think what happened to me was insane, spend a couple of days in an Abu Dhabi jail; I have nothing to complain about compared to the vast majority of women I met whose only crime was being poor, marrying the wrong guy, getting pregnant outside of marriage or/and being victims of rampant and systemic police corruption.

    "I know 1000% after hearing their stories that I would never have been released in such a speedy fashion without a) my Australian nationality, b) the media coverage (surreal), c) the belated efforts of the embassy and d) all of the support from my friends as well as people I have never even met."

    Magi was found guilty at a trial last month, but when she attended an Abu Dhabi court to pay a fine on Monday, she was detained by officials.

    The photo at the centre of the case reportedly showed a vehicle without any disabled stickers, blocking two car spots reserved for those with disabilities at Magi's apartment block.


    RELATED: Amnesty slams UAE repression


    The number plate of the car was reportedly blacked out in the photo, making the vehicle difficult to identify. The photo has been removed from Facebook since it was posted in February.

    On Tuesday, Magi defended her post.

    "Obviously, I think a $3600 fine and deportation with a complimentary incarceration period was an extreme reaction to a jpg of a car when I did not swear or mention a single name and blocked the registration plate," she said in her Facebook statement, adding that she has travelled to Laos.

    On her personal website, Magi said she moved to Abu Dhabi in 2012, where she taught Emirati women graphic design.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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