Understanding the Criminal and Punishment Law in the UAE

In recent times, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced a new Federal Crime and Punishment Law. It was first introduced in 2021. It was officially effective in the year 2022. The law has been attached to several concerns. It has impacted human rights and individual freedoms which appeared as a major setback.

Therefore, due to it, some major changes were brought to this law. Hence, it was reintroduced due to discriminatory provisions against a specific gender i.e. women. As per the law, consensual extramarital sex has been criminalized. This carries a minimum punishment of a jail sentence of up to six months. Imprisonment is faced by both men and women involved in such an act. 

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Understanding the Criminal and Punishment Law in the UAE

Sodomy is termed a criminal act in the Emirates. Such kinds of offenses can only be prosecuted if a complaint is filed. The complaint must be launched by a husband or a male guardian. This law disproportionately impacts women. This is because only men can file complaints while women are not given their due rights. Moreover, the juries and judges also have the discretion to impose much harsher sentences upon the women. Top Law Firms in Dubai are in to market for more than 20 years.

According to the new law, having a child out of wedlock is criminalized.  Both the parent’s mother and father will be facing the repercussions. They may face a minimum of two years imprisonment in jail. Pregnancy and child outside the wedlock is treated as proof or evidence of the crime. It constitutes consensual extramarital sex. This remains illegal under the law. Law Firms in Dubai are also famous for recruiting top lawyers and legal consultants.

However, the couples do have the chance to avoid prosecution. It is done by marrying each other or registering their child separately. Besides, unmarried pregnant women face many difficulties. It includes having access to prenatal healthcare and registering their children. The law retains the provisions regarding suicide which is considered to be illegal. 

Further, the law is considered the actions to be criminalized them. The law keeps blasphemy, sorcery and alcohol consumption in public places. Some of the vague and overbroad acts also fall under the same category. The acts that can be seen as “scandalous,” or “offensive to modesty and public morals,” are still under the same cover. It also criminalized acts including “inciting to a life of sin,” or “tempting others to sinful behavior”, and much more.

Such offenses could lead to quick arrests due to various behaviors. It may include public displays of love and affection, gender-nonconforming expressions, and campaigns advocating for the due rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

The new penal code prescribes life imprisonment or the death penalty as very strict and conservative. Such kinds of acts greatly compromise the sovereignty of the Country. It threatens the independence, unity, or territorial integrity of the state. As per the provision of law, a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment is imposed for such offenses. Such acts can harm political relations with foreign countries. Moreover, with the possibility of a death sentence it is predetermined by the court. 

Nevertheless, this provision also includes a minimum imprisonment or jail sentence of up to five years. Alongside, a substantial fine for such acts is also given. In the past, this law was previously used to imprison an individual for peaceful Facebook posts that criticize another country, state, or nation in any potential.

There were two new provisions introduced that potentially impacted the journalists working inside the UAE. According to the law, it results in jail sentences of approximately 3 to 15 years. It includes offenses like anyone collecting information to share with foreign entities without proper authorization, consent, or approval. 

Furthermore, the publication or sharing of false or tendentious news, statements, and rumors is also a criminal offense. Such things can disturb the national and public security of the country. Besides, it has collateral damage to the public interest.

Additionally, defamation is treated as a criminal offense in the UAE. Defamation laws directly impact the media freedoms and private communications working in the UAE. The penalties for defamation include imprisonment terms and Hefty fines. There are also punishments for libel and slander. It is attached to higher penalties which are directed for public officials or their family members. 

In addition,UAE insulating any public officials from criticism is against the principle of wider media freedom. Therefore, when it comes to speech about politicians and government officials, it is considered to be a criminal offense. The new changes to the law reduce the punishment for insulting national symbols. The provisions are introduced to allow for a broader interpretation of the law. 

UAE potentially punishes a wide range of speech and is considered the larger interest. Moreover, protests and public demonstrations remain prohibited in the UAE. The penalties have been reduced for participating in public gatherings that disrupt the implementation of laws and regulations in the country. However, the harsher penalties will apply if the public gathering results in riots, conflicts, or a disruption of peace or public security. 

As per the law, a life sentence is given to those who call for, promote, or lead gatherings with the wrong intentions. The exploiter aims to commit riots, disputes, and conflicts, or disrupt the implementation of laws and regulations within the UAE. The law maintains severe restrictions on peaceful assembly and free association in the country. Still, planning, organizing, promoting, or advocating demonstrations without an official permit is a criminal act. The approval is needed from the relevant authorities of the Emirates prior.

Furthermore, UAE also addresses the use of human-operated and automated accounts to spread disinformation around on social media and other platforms.  There are penalties for creating or modifying both accounts and accepting benefits for sharing unauthorized content.

The UAE has introduced a new penal code and law to address the raised concerns. There were serious concerns about their impact on human rights. The laws include some vague and overbroad provisions. Now they have addressed the use that suppresses dissent and restricts individual freedoms. Besides, potential abuses of power are also restricted.

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