Based on what happened here, if Jalopnik was based in the United Arab Emirates, we’d be the only automotive website to be run from prison. That’s because a woman who took a picture of a some asshole’s car who parked across two disabled spaces and posted it on Facebook was thrown in jail for “writing bad words.” Ugh.
We post photos of horrible, asshole parking jobs all the time, and still manage to enjoy our freedom. Jodi Magi, the Australian designer and artist who took the photos (and even thoughtfully obscured the car’s license plate) has been in jail since Sunday.
In Abu Dhabi, the crime of “writing bad words about a person” (who writes their laws? Petulant kindergarteners?) comes with a fine of $2,700, which Magi offered to pay, and then planned to leave the country. Instead, her offer to pay was refused, and, of course, she was denied permission to leave the country, with authorities insisting she go to court.
From an article in the Telegraph:
“No one’s talking to me. No one’s telling me what’s going on,” she told the Australian broadcaster, ABC, from the back of the van.
“They were about to put me in male lock-up and then they turned me away and no one knows what to do with me. I’m pretty scared.”
As of yesterday, she was finally released from jail, and wrote about it on her blog:
After 53 hours in custody, having been shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow and having no access to toilet paper or eating utensils, I can happily say I AM SAFE & OUT OF JAIL AND ABU DHABI!
Obviously, I think a $3600 fine and deportation with a complimentary incarceration period was an extreme reaction to a jpg of a car posted to a closed Facebook page, when I did not swear or mention a single name and blocked the registration plate.
Even though I am pretty traumatised by my own experience, what has affected me more are the many, many stories told to me by my fellow inmates at both the jails I ‘visited’. I will be forever heartbroken by the treatment of these inspiring and courageous women from the Philippines, India, Nigeria, Russia, Uganda, Bangladesh, Syria etc at the hands of the U.A.E. ‘Justice System’.
Really, it should be a fundamental human right to point out and humiliate dickheads who park across two handicapped spaces. I’m pretty sure the wrong person went to jail in this particular exchange.
Glad you’re out of jail, Jodi. Don’t give up the good fight against parking dickshittery.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.