‘We stood up to mocking cyber bullies’
Pair jailed for viral film of disabled man
A man with Down syndrome who was tricked into flashing his middle finger for a series of pictures that were spread on social media has been left afraid to leave his home.
Ala’a Fawzi, 36, can be seen smiling and using the offensive gesture in pictures widely circulated by two young Syrian men who lived in his neighbourhood.
Ola Fawzi, Ala’a’s sister, told 7DAYS that her brother was taken advantage of and embarrassed by the men - but that the family ensured the men were punished over the ordeal.
She only learned of the images when she saw people pointing at him in the street.
Ola reported the pair, in their twenties, to police and they were arrested and convicted by Sharjah Misdemeanour Court.
They were each jailed for three months in early October for breaching cybercrime laws.
But Ola said the incident has had lasting damage on her brother and she wanted to speak about the case publicly.
She said: “I was walking in our neighbourhood in the Al Helwan area of Sharjah with Ala’a and people were pointing at him. When I asked them why they were laughing at my brother, they showed me the pictures of him flashing his finger with two strangers.
“Sometimes they were forcing him to flash his middle finger to the camera. I was very upset. The next morning we took these bullies to court.
“These two men think it is okay to bully or mock someone with Down syndrome.”
Ola said she and her parents noticed her brother had become more withdrawn, before they found out about the online images.
She said: “During that period of time, Ala’a was unhappy and used to sit at home alone all the time.” Lawyer Majid Al Jallaf, who represented the family in court, said: “These men can’t be allowed to get away with mocking and damaging the reputation of a young man with disabilities.
“That’s why we fought and won the case.” The two men were ordered to pay Dhs21,000 in compensation and will be deported on their release.
You can’t mock a young man with disabilities - that’s why we fought this case – Lawyer Majid Al Jallaf
VICTIM: Ala’a Fawzi was the subject of a viral video