WhatsApp voice calling
The man could be fined £42,769 for allegedly swearing at a colleague in a WhatsApp message (Reuters)

A man living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be fined $68,000 (£42,769) after he allegedly swore at his colleague on WhatsApp.

According to a new federal law recently implemented in the country, people charged with online offences could be fined up to £42,769 or jailed. Tourists and foreigners living in UAE could be also deported in addition to being fined.

The Federal Supreme Court (FSC) overturned two lower court sentences which fined the man - whose identity has not been disclosed - AED3,000 (£514) after charging him with cybercrimes.

In the new trial, the court ruled that the previous sentences were too lenient, Emirates 247 reported.

"FSC supported the prosecutor's appeal and affirmed the need for enforcement of the law governing information technology crimes involving a AED250,000 fine and deportation from the country," the court said.

According to court documents, the defendant was tried after a colleague complained to police that he had sworn in a message using "insulting" words and allegedly threatened him.

It is not clear what the exact message sent on WhatsApp was. However, the defendant has denied the charges.

In April, an Indian expat was charged with insulting Islam on Facebook where he allegedly posted comments after viewing a video depicting violence in Iraq.

After receiving a complaint made by another Indian man, Dubai police seized the defendant's mobile phone. The trial is ongoing.

Earlier this year, an American expat was arrested in UAE after he was found commenting against his employer on Facebook.

Ryan Pate, a helicopter mechanic, posted a rant over social media while he was in Florida complaining about his employer Global Aerospace Logistics after his sick leave was rejected.

Pate allegedly called his employer "backstabbers" and discouraged people from working for the organization. He faces up to five years in jail and a fine if found guilty.