UAE firm drops Facebook slander charges against US worker
American man posted a comment on Facebook criticising his employers while on holiday in Florida
A UAE company has dropped a case of cyber-slander brought against an employee for posting comments about the company on Facebook.
Ryan Pate , a civilian helicopter mechanic, was arrested shortly after arriving back in Abu Dhabi after a break at home in Florida.
While he was in the US, Pate posted a comment on Facebook criticising his employers after discovering that his pay would be suspended because of a medical condition. His employers, Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL), subsequently reported him to Abu Dhabi Police.
Pate was facing a possible fine of up to $50,000 and five years in jail on the charge, but GAL has agreed to drop the charge, according to a report on CNN.
The American had publicly apologised for his making the comments. "What I said was very wrong. I apologise for it," he told CNN earlier this month. He said he's now looking forward to being reunited with family and friends in Florida.
Pate's congressman, US Republican David Jolly, R-Florida, who campaigned to have the charges dropped, said he maintained that Pate's actions were covered under US constitution.
"I want to thank those who have worked with us to defend Ryan Pate's constitutional rights, including our US Ambassador to the UAE. I have always believed because Ryan's actions occurred on American soil, he was protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution," said Jolly, in a statement on his website.
Ryan Pate and Jillian Cardoza, Pate's fiancé, also released a statement on Jolly's website thanking those who worked to clear him of all the charges.
"We want to thank Global Aerospace Logistics for working with Ryan and his attorney to clear him of all charges. We also want to thank the government and people of the United Arab Emirates for their understanding and hearing Ryan's plea for forgiveness," Pate and Cardoza said in their statement.