Prosecutors in Abu Dhabi have launched an investigation after a woman was accused of insulting an author during a live-streamed video shared on social media.

The Judicial Department said the Arab woman, whose age and nationality were not disclosed, was accused of "attacking the privacy" of the participant of a recent book fair held in the emirate.

The department said on Monday evening that the recording had been made without the consent of the victim.

"The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution has begun taking legal measures against an Arab woman accused of stirring up public opinion and attacking privacy using the information network, by verbally assaulting a person participating in the book fair event that was held in the country during the last period," it said in a Tweet.

The department said the verbal abuse occurred during a "live broadcast".

Members of the public can face steep penalties if they are found guilty of insulting or defaming others online.

It is illegal in the UAE to swear or slander someone on an information network, which includes social media or messaging services such as WhatsApp.

Last month, UAE prosecutors said people found guilty of such offences could be sentenced to jail and fined up to Dh500,000 ($136,160).

They said the laws were designed to tackle the misuse of online platforms.

Legal expert Hasan Elhais, from Al Rowaad Advocates, said people could face heavy penalties if convicted in such cases.

Prosecutors can take action due to the crime itself of insulting another person publicly, which can be exacerbated if widely shared online, he said.

"The accused could face stringent penalties if found guilty," Mr Elhais said.

"The penalty is imprisonment for a period of no less than six months and a fine of no less than Dh150,000 and no more than Dh500,000," he said.

The case serves as a reminder of the laws governing the use of social media and the consequences of breaking them, he said.

Mr Elhais emphasised the importance of respecting one's privacy, a basic human right that the law seeks to protect.

"Continual reminders of the importance of privacy rights are crucial," he said.

"The law criminalising assault on private and family life contributes to reinforcing society's confidence in the justice system and guarantees individuals can live safely and freely without fear of their privacy being violated."

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