BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Sunday, 1 July, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Briton guilty of Dubai hacking
Lee Ashurst pictured with his lawyer Habib Mulla
Lee Ashurst (right) denied the charges
By Julia Wheeler in Dubai

A British man has been found guilty of hacking into the United Arab Emirates' state internet system and fined $2,700 (1,900).

Lee Ashurst, 22, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was found not guilty of the related charge of opening other people's e-mail, but he still faces a separate civil case.

The monopoly internet provider in the UAE, Etisalat, had accused Lee Ashurst of hacking into its system from his laptop computer and causing widespread problems.

There is currently no law against hacking in the UAE but Ashurst was charged with the misuse of telecommunications equipment.

'Scapegoat'

His arrest last June came after considerable public criticism of Etisalat's internet services and the company alleged Ashurst was the source of the extensive disruption.

Defence lawyers maintain their client was used as a scapegoat and are planning to appeal against the verdict.

Etisalat logo
Etisalat is the sole internet provider in the UAE
The case is also being transferred to the civil courts where Etisalat plans to sue Ashurst for lost revenue during the time the server was down.

If it is successful, the resulting damages could run into thousands of pounds.

The UAE is currently rushing through legislation against hacking as a result of the problems this case has highlighted.

The case has been embarrassing for the UAE, especially as Dubai has been trying to position itself as the internet hub of the Middle East.

It has also given ammunition to local critics of the state's monopoly on telecommunications.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

11 Feb 01 | Middle East
Dubai 'hacker' due in court
26 Jun 00 | Middle East
Dubai 'hacker' denies all
25 Jun 00 | Middle East
Dubai 'hacker' charged
21 Jun 00 | Middle East
Suspected hacker arrested in Dubai
05 May 00 | Middle East
World's first e-mail divorce
30 Oct 99 | Middle East
Dubai launches cybercity
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories