Defamation on social media is a serious crime as per UAE law. What are your options when someone defames you on social media? Let’s find out.
You have the right to file a criminal case against the perpetrator within three months of your knowledge of the crime. You can also file a civil case claiming compensation, especially if the perpetrator was sentenced as guilty by the court.
Article (10) of Federal Law No (35) Of 1992, concerning Criminal Procedural Law, states: ‘A criminal case may not be lodged, in the following cases, except upon a written or verbal complaint from the victim or his or her legal representative:
1) Theft, swindling, breach of trust, as well as concealment of objects obtained therefrom, in case the victim is a spouse of the perpetrator or one of his ascendants or descendants and these objects are not seized judicially or administratively or encumbered by a lien in favour of another person.
2) Abstention from delivering a minor to the one who has the right to ask it or take him or her away from the authority of his or her custodian or surety.
3) Abstention from paying the adjudicated alimony, or cost of fostering, suckling or housing.
4) Insult and slander.
5) Other crimes specified by law.
Unless otherwise provided by law, the complaint shall not be accepted after the lapse of three months as of the victim’s knowledge of the crime and its perpetrator.’
UAE Penal Code deals with insult and defamation in Chapter No 6 regarding crimes perpetrated against reputation, libel, insult and disclosure of secrets. Article 372 of this law states: A person ‘Shall be sentenced to detention for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not in excess of Dh20,000, whoever attributes to another, through a means of publicity, a fact that makes him or her an object of punishment or of contempt’.
Article 373 also states that a person ‘Shall be sentenced to detention for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not in excess of Dh10,000. Whoever casts another, by any publicity means, with any statement that affects his or her honour or dignity without attributing to him or her a specific fact’.” Finally, Article 374 (1) states that a person ‘Shall be sentenced to detention for a maximum period of six months or to a fine not exceeding Dh5,000 in case the libel or insult takes place through the telephone or in the presence of others’.
The same topic was also addressed by the UAE Federal Decree-Law No (5) on Compacting Cybercrimes, in Article 20, which states that ‘Without prejudice to the crime of slander determined by the Islamic Sharia, one shall be punished by imprisonment and a fine not less than Dh250,000 and not in excess of Dh500,000 or either of these two penalties, if one insults or accuses another person of a matter of which he or she shall be subject to punishment or being held in contempt by others, by using a computer network or information technology means’.