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The Latest: UAE Threatens Prison, Fines for Qatar Support

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 05:46 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on the Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia and other nations cut ties to Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

The United Arab Emirates' Justice Ministry is warning social media users that they can face prison time and fines for offering sympathy for Qatar amid a growing diplomatic crisis in the Middle East.

The ministry put out a statement on social media Wednesday saying those found guilty could face three to 15 years in prison and fines starting from 500,000 dirhams ($136,000).

The ministry quoted UAE Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi making the warning, saying it came over Qatar's "hostile and reckless policy."

While liberal compared to much of the Middle East, the UAE has tough cybercrime and slander laws under which people can be arrested, imprisoned and deported for taking photographs without the consent of those shown or being insulting.

The United Arab Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and other Arab nations severed ties with Qatar and have cut off land, sea and air access. They accuse the energy-rich Gulf nation of supporting terror groups, charges denied by Qatar.

12:30 p.m.

Mauritania has become the latest country to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar as part of a growing rift between the energy-rich Gulf nation and other Arab countries.

In a statement by the Foreign Ministry, the African country accused Qatar of having connections to terrorist organizations. It said Qatar is "promoting extremist thoughts and spreading chaos and disturbances across many of the Arab countries, resulting in big humanitarian miseries."

Qatar long has denied supporting terror groups.

Mauritania has strong military and economic ties to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which led the diplomatic spat with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others have severed diplomatic relations and cut off air, land and sea access to Qatar, in the most serious Gulf diplomatic crisis since the 1991 war against Iraq.

12:15 p.m.

An outspoken Emirati ruling family member has raised the prospect of a change in leadership in Qatar, which is embroiled in a major diplomatic crisis with its Gulf neighbors.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi says Qatar's citizens are "questioning if this is going to end up in seeing a change in leadership itself."

Al Qassemi, of the ruling family of the sheikhdom of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he hopes Qatar ends its "rogue, maverick" ways.

He says Qatar will need to close or limit its Al-Jazeera news network and stop funding extremists groups to end the crisis.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

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The Latest on the Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia and other nations cut ties to Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism (all times local):12:40 p.m.The United Arab Emirates' Justice Ministry is warning social media users that they can face prison time and fines for...
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Wednesday, 07 June 2017 05:46 AM
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