Jodi Magi, 39, an Australian woman has been caught and imprisoned in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as the court judged her guilty of “writing bad words on social media”.
Ms Magi, who has lived in Abu Dhabi since 2012, took a photo of a car in her apartment area in February. The car was parked across two disabled parking spots, without any disability signs.
She put the photo on Facebook to catch attention of the selfish act, but did not provide any identifications such as the number plate or names.
However, someone in the apartment reported the case to the police and it went to an Abu Dhabi court in June.
Ms Magi said she was compelled to sign some documents in Arabic without any translation.
She was shocked and confounded by the court’s judgement and she did not understand at all of what she have done was illegal.
“I have zero idea. I just used the internet,” she commented before being caught.
Even though she tried spontaneously deport herself and pay approximately $3,600 fine last week, Abu Dhabi authorities would not allow her to leave without attending to court. They also warned her that this could mean she would end up in jail.
Ms Magi went to pay the fine but was arrested and jailed yesterday.
“They almost put me in the male lock-up and then turned me away. No-one knows what to do with me. No-one is talking to me. No-one is telling me what is going on. I’ve been driving around for four hours.” she told reporters from the back of the police car.
Ms Magi spent last night in jail and it is unknown how long she will be imprisoned.
She said the Australian embassy in Abu Dhabi has not provided any support except suggesting her to get a lawyer.
“I was under the impression that embassies were in countries to help their citizens in times of difficulty. However, from my experience, their job here seems to generate business and they have no interest in anything other than that.” she said in an interview before she get caught.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said in a statement “We continues providing consular assistance to Ms Magi detained in Abu Dhabi and that for privacy reasons we cannot provide any more information.”