UAE new law: Life sentence for rape; can extend to death in case of minor victim

Dh10,000 fine, imprisonment for indecent assault


A Staff Reporter

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Sat 27 Nov 2021, 5:07 PM

The new and updated Federal Crime and Punishment Law has stipulated life imprisonment for the crime of rape or non-consensual intercourse.

The law states that if the victim is under the age of 18, disabled or otherwise, rendered in a condition unable to offer resistance, the punishment can be extended to capital punishment.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE approved a wide-ranging reform of the country’s legal system, which aims to strengthen economic, investment and commercial opportunities, the Government Media said Saturday, November 27.

Over 40 laws are included in the changes, which together represent the largest legal reform in the nation’s 50-year history.

The new legislation offers enhanced protections for women and domestic servants, strengthens public safety and security provisions and eases restrictions on extra-marital relationships and it will be fully enacted starting from January 2, 2022.

Dh 10,000 fine, imprisonment for indecent assault

The new law includes the amendment and revision of a number of areas of legislation, including new criminal penalties for public disorder offences and the de-criminalization of a number of behaviours.


The new law also addresses the crime of indecent assault with imprisonment or a fine of no less than Dh 10,000 regardless of the victim’s gender.

If the use of force or threat is employed in the course of the crime, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of no less than five years and not exceeding 20 twenty years, read an official press release from the Government Media Office.

“The penalty will rise to a prison term of no less than ten years and not exceeding 25 years if the victim is aged under 18, disabled or otherwise rendered in a condition unable to offer resistance. Also, the more severe penalty applies if the crime takes place in a place of work, study, shelter or care,” the release read.

The law also punishes with imprisonment for a period of no less than six months, consensual extra-marital intercourse with a person aged over 18 years, noting that a criminal case for this crime is only instituted on the basis of a complaint from the husband or guardian. In all cases, the husband or guardian has the right to waive the complaint, and the waiver entails the expiration of the criminal case or the suspension of the execution of the penalty, as the case may be.

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