Australian woman held in Abu Dhabi for 'writing bad words on Facebook' to be deported

Jodi Magi posted a photo of a car parked over two disabled bays

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A woman who posted a picture on Facebook of a car parked across two disabled bays in the UAE is to be deported.

Jodi Magi, an Australian national, was arrested whilst in the United Arab Emirates after supposedly posting a photo on Facebook that amounted to the offence of “writing bad words on social media.” It appears she uploaded an image of a car parked across two disabled parking bays outside her apartment in the Gulf state.

The 39-year-old appeared in court in Abu Dhabi on 12 July and, having been ordered to pay a fine Magi has been held in custody since, is now awaiting deportation to Australia. She had offered to pay the fine and voluntarily deport herself, but was told this would not be acceptable.

Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, said she expected Magi to be sent back to Australia in “a very short time” and that the members of the Australian consulate in the region were providing support to Magi and her husband.

Magi told the ABC that she felt the government were only interested in its trade relationship with the UAE.

"I'm not sure if it was me being naive. I was under the impression that embassies were in countries to help citizens in times of difficulty,” she said.

After being detained, Magi said, she was driven around in a car for about four hours.

“They were about to put me in male lock-up and then they turned me away – no one knows what to do with me. I’m pretty scared,” she said of the experience, claiming nobody would tell her what was going on.