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Unusual Laws That Can Result In Fines Or Prison In The UAE

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Unusual Laws That Can Result In Fines Or Prison In The UAE

You might have spotted over the past couple of days that a group of women have been arrested in Dubai after they posed naked on a balcony for a photoshoot.

The United Arab Emirates has some strict laws on social media, and some even stricter laws on public decency and things they consider to be 'lewd', but there are some other laws in place across the UAE that are just plain odd.

Despite what you may think about them, if you wish to travel there you'll have to abide by these laws, so it's worth being clued up if you're planning a trip in the future.

Firstly, remember to moderate your language on the internet - even on chat apps like WhatsApp.

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Swearing in public is banned in the UAE, and the f-word is completely taboo. Under Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code - per Culture Trip - you can be fined as much as 10,000 dirhams (around £1,900) or even face a year in prison for public swearing.

This extends to your online behaviour.

A police car in Dubai. Credit: PA
A police car in Dubai. Credit: PA

A good number of laws relating to cybercrime are also in place in the Emirates, and even 'flipping the bird' emojis can result in a fine of up to 250,000 dirhams (more than £49,000), a prison sentence, or even deportation.

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Furthermore, it's illegal to 'invade the privacy of another person' in the UAE. That means that if you use someone else's phone without their consent you can receive a hefty fine.

In 2016, a woman was fined 150,000 dirhams (£29,000) and deported for transferring photos from her husband's WhatsApp to her own.

Now, here's a couple of strange ones.

The UAE cares a lot about the image of the country, which is fair enough, but you can be fined separately for having a dirty car and for washing it.

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Contradictory though that sounds, here's the reasoning.

Dirty cars are seen to be 'disfiguring the city image and health' and can be towed away with the owners fined up to 3,000 dirhams (£590).

The Burj Al Arab hotel. Credit: PA
The Burj Al Arab hotel. Credit: PA

However, washing your car 'incorrectly' - which is to say, in residential areas, or employing people to do it for you - can also 'distort the city's beautiful image' and result in a fine.

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As such, you have to take it to a proper car wash to have it done. No Sunday afternoon car-washing over there.

One of the most ambiguous laws, and one of the most controversial, relates to spreading rumours and gossip.

Gossip, particularly on social media, can result in a three-year prison sentence and a 1,000,000 dirham (£196,000) fine.

Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Credit: PA
Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Credit: PA
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They describe it as a law to stop people who 'damage the social peace and public order' as well as posing threats to the 'national peace' in the country.

Brought into existence in 2016, it's definitely one to watch out for.

While you're at it, you should watch out for things like eating and drinking on public transport - punishable by a fine - carrying food that contains poppy seeds - punishable by a jail sentence - and taking pictures of road traffic accidents.

On top of that, homosexuality is illegal in the country and can result in a prison sentence.

All things that you should take into account deciding whether to book a holiday to Dubai.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Dubai, Asia, crime, Weird

Tom Wood
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