Last edited: March 31, 2006


United Arab Emirates

  • Statute: Federal Penal Code
  • Penalty: Death
  • Restrictions:  
There is a federal criminal statute, as well as penal codes in four of the seven emirates: Dubai, Abu Zabi, Ras al-Haima, and Sarga.

The Federal Penal Code (FPC, Law No. 3 of 1987) came into force on March 21, 1988. It does not abolish the penal legislation of the emirates, but only repeals "all provisions contrary" to it. Moreover the FPC leaves intact the sharia provisions on crimes. The public prosecutor’s office will continue to have the discretion to charge a defendant with either a sharia crime before a sharia court, or a statutory crime under the FPC before a Federal court or under an emirate statute before a local court.

Article 354 of the FPC is ambiguously phrased....In a semi-official translation in use by lawyers in the Emirates this is rendered as: capital punishment for "any individual who forcibly compels a female to carnal copulation or a man to sodomy". However the article can be translated as "Whoever commits rape on a female or sodomy with a male shall be punished by death".

Article 80 of the Abu Zhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years. Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy.

Most Emiris are Sunnis of the Maliki school..., in which sodomy is regarded as zina, albeit meriting a stricter punishment: both muhsan [a married man] and non-muhsan are to be put to death by stoning". (Schmitt and Sofer – "Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Moslem Societies")


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