‘We stood up to mock­ing cy­ber bul­lies’

Pair jailed for vi­ral film of dis­abled man

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawalal­ramahi nawal@7days.ae

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

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