UAE Makes Insulting Other People a Crime

Calling someone silly or stupid can land you in jail


Name calling is a crime in the United Arab Emirates and people have gone to jail for this.

According to Article 373, Article 374(1) and Article 20 of the Federal Penal Code, the practice of name calling is a punishable offense. Even calling people ‘silly’ or ‘stupid’  can land you in jail.

“Anyone who casts another, by any publicity means, with any statement that affects his honor or dignity shall be sentenced to a jail term.”

Just in case it wasn’t clear, simply using bad words can prove costly in UAE.

Insults have already landed people in trouble

In recent months, at least two people have faced trial on the grounds that they had allegedly insulted their friends (honor is everything, even by law).

In October, an individual called a lady he wanted to get engaged to, as a ‘fool’ over WhatsApp. The woman then filed a case against him and he was fined Dh 20,000.

In another case, a man reportedly called his co-worker ‘silly’, during a football match in Sharjah. He is currently standing trial (maybe they supported different football teams?).

Fines for Insult

Different penalties will be imposed based on the degree of offensiveness and the medium used.

“Direct insult or libel is punishable in accordance with the federal penal code, but when it happens online or through social media or mobile apps, it would be punishable in accordance with the federal law combating cybercrimes. The latter leads to heavier sentences or fines.”

For online insults and slander, one can receive a Dh 250k-500k fine and a jail sentence.


For any direct insults in public, the fine is around Dh 10,000 fine but the jail term can be up to a year.

No more rude phone calls because direct insults over the phone can lead to a fine of Dh 5,000 and or a six-month jail term. The same goes for insulting ‘the victim’ in the presence of others.

All these penalties hike as the social status of ‘the victim’ goes up.

A Good Move?

Lawmakers in UAE believe that words hurt. This is regardless of the fact that something you say was meant as a joke or not. As per the authorities, an insult is an insult, and that is a punishable crime.

So the next time you throw around profanities as a joke or as part of a casual conversation while in Dubai, be careful because people have been charged over less.

via Khaleej Times

Written by Ummara Sheraz

Entertainment & culture writer at ProPakistani/Lens. Occasionally dabbles in other news.


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