In certain circumstances, expatriate residents in the UAE unfamiliar with the laws of the land may be unaware that adultery is a crime in the country. Such a conviction could have serious consequences as it is determined to be a crime of honour in line with Chapter 5 of the UAE penal code, which can carry ramifications on other matters. For example, child custody can be removed from the mother if she is found to have committed a “dishonourable crime” – though this is also looked at in tandem with the welfare of the children and their best interests.
In the case of an alleged adultery, certain standards must be met before a conviction would be reached in accordance with the law governing such an act, Article 114 of the Law of Civil Transactions of the UAE. Here are five important points to note:
- This law governs instances where a consensual sexual relationship between a man and a woman has taken place, when one of the couple is already married to someone else.
- Admissible evidence in a case of alleged adultery includes writing, testimony, conclusive circumstantial evidence, and eye witness and expert evidence.
- In general, the word of a male Muslim witness carries the most weight.
- Punishment for a conviction of adultery, as stipulated in Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code, is stated as “not less than a year” in prison.
- The burden of proof for obtaining a conviction for adultery, especially for non-Muslims, is high.
If you find yourself facing this kind of a sensitive matter or similar, it is recommended you seek legal advice with urgency. Please contact Mr. Hassan Elhais.