[Ed. – Set aside, for a moment, the penchant of Islam for censorship. This event encapsulates the future of a world in which the American standard of internet freedom is no longer upheld. Since Obama had us relinquish our global management of the internet, it’s only a matter of time before defensive censorship begins to drive out freedom from the web — everywhere. Be sure to check out the TBO piece on this as well.]
Ryan Pate, a contractor for Global Aerospace Logistics, which is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, was recently arrested by the UAE for an offensive Facebook post against Islam he made while he was still in the United States. Recently, he was released and all charges dropped against him.
According to the Tampa Tribune:
According to Pate, he began suffering back problems and, with a recommendation from his doctors in the United States, wanted to leave the company’s employ. This turned into an ugly dispute in which he was summoned to the UAE for further medical testing, and his pay was frozen. Angered by these developments, Pate vented on his Facebook page – something that has become a remarkably common end to jobs around the world. Pate was arrested and thrown in jail by Abu Dhabi police when he arrived in the United Arab Emirates, charged with violating their speech codes by making “cyber slander against Islam, cyber slander against the UAE, cyber slander against his employer and cyber slander against management.”
He spent ten days in the Emirates slammer – following a booking procedure that involved making him sign Arabic paperwork he couldn’t read, and some rather suspicious “confusion about his nationality” on the part of the police – before the U.S. Embassy tracked him down and got him out on bail. He is scheduled to stand trial on March 17, facing up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine, even though the “slander against Islam” and “slander against the UAE” charges were dropped. He has already incurred hefty legal fees, leading his fiancee Jillian Cardoza to set up a GoFundMe account to ask for help. The couple’s savings have already been wiped out.