Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center

UAE laws .. countless charges with the most severe penalties in the world

2 Mar 2022
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"The UAE laws are the most stringent among Arab states", said the research institution "Friedrich Naumann for Freedom (FNFF)", which saw in it "an expansion in the punishment of content, limiting freedom of expression, and imposing penalties that are not proportional to actions."

In addition, FNFF says that UAE laws include many crimes and broad terms such as crimes of “endangering the security of the state and its higher interests, or compromising public order,” terms that are inconsistent with international standards that require that the law be clear to the public so individual can knows what are the wrong actions. And that these broad terms allow law enforcement officials to expand the criminalization of acts that the legislator may not have intended to criminalize.

Unfortunately, dozens of human rights activists and ordinary individuals have fallen victim to these “elastic” laws, which impose harsh penalties and exorbitant financial fines, beyond the idea of reforming the offender to attempting revenge against him, as these penalties imposed by the authorities clearly lack the principle of proportionality of punishment with the gravity of the crime perpetrated.

The Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC) has prepared an infographic card that shows examples of the charges and penalties included in UAE laws, which may be the most severe in the world compared to the charges against the victims, as most of the penalties include long-term imprisonment and heavy fines.

In the infographic card referred to below, we note that most of the victims of the laws were sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to one million AED, using vague charges such as "harming national unity", "endangering state interests", although the real reasons for these charges are simple, It does not deserve such penalties.

For example, as explained, the UAE authorities sentenced the Syrian activist, Abdul Rahman Al-Nahhas, to 10 years in prison for “communicating with terrorist organizations,” due to his contact with the Alkarama Organization for Human Rights.

In another case, we found that the court has sentenced professor Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith to 10 years in prison for “endangering the interests of the state according to Article 28 of the Cybercrime Law,” due to tweets in which he defended the Egyptian protesters in Rabaa Square in 2013.

There are other cases, such as activist Ahmed Mansoor, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined one million dirhams on charges of "publishing information that harms national unity" because of his contact with human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Sultan bin Kayed Al Qasimi was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus 3 post-trial probation, on charges of “conspiring to overthrow the ruling regime” due to his work as president of the Al-Islah Association, a charitable and advocacy organization that engages in peaceful activities.

There is also the case of the young man Khalifa Al-Rubaie, who was charged with “promoting a terrorist organization”, and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, due to tweets in which he defended Emirati detainees in the UAE 94 case, and was not released despite the expiration of his sentence years ago.

We also do not forget the case of student Maryam Al-Balushi, who was sentenced to an additional 3 years in prison, on charges of "providing international organizations with false news", following audio recordings in which she spoke about violations inside prisons.

The above are just examples of the crimes and penalties imposed by UAE laws, and they are not limited. Communication with international organizations is a “crime” and criticism of officials is “incitement to the regime and an insult to state symbols.” The punishment often starts from 10 years with clemency, with heavy fines.