Disclosure Of Secrets, Insult, Reputation, And Libel in the UAE

17 Jun 2022

Legal tools have been established for the use of judicial authorities in accordance with the following rules and regulations: Federal Law Number 35 of 1992 about the Criminal Procedure Code, Federal Law No. 3 of the so-called United Arab Emirates Penal Code, Federal Law Number 5 of 2012 to combat cybercrime, and Act Number 1987 of the United Arab Emirates' Civil Transactions Act Number 1 of 1987. To understand such legal tools, one must familiarize oneself with the following conditions: Defamation, defamation, defamation, defamation. This article discusses the consequences of leaking secrets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

One or more individuals may seek to use a legal tool provided by the judicial authorities of the United Arab Emirates for

  • defamation: an act of communicating an incorrect announcement about others that causes harm to their reputation,
  • slander: a wrong statement that harms the reputation of others,
  • defamation: the act of spreading a wrongful statement that causes other people to have a bad impression on someone, 
  • an insult: treating someone with insolence, annoyance, or indignity, and  
  • revealing a secret: an example of an act or revelation of the secret.

When one or more individuals have been the victim of such defamation, slander, and/or insult they may petition the use of Federal Code Number 35 of the 1992 Criminal procedure Code. Here the victim should reach out to the well-experienced criminal lawyers. Article 10 of the Code states that “a Victim or their legal representative, may make a verbal or written complaint to initiate criminal proceedings about insult and slander and other crimes specified by the law. The complaints are no longer admissible after a period of three months from when the victim became aware of the crime and its perpetrators”.

If found guilty of defamation, libel, and/or slander, offenders could face serious legal consequences. These legal implications are set out in Article 372 to Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code and Articles 20 and 21 of the Laws on the Prevention of Cybercrime. Legal tools explore the various pitfalls a victim may face in defamation, libel, and/or insult. The punishments are imprisonment of up to seven years and a maximum fine of five hundred thousand dirhams.


Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 UAE Penal Code:

Article 372

Anyone who indicts another, by any public means that subject him to punishment and contempt shall be penalized with imprisonment for a term up to 2 years and a fine amount not more than twenty thousand dirhams.

Imprisonment and a fine or either of these will be imposed, if the act of libel is committed against a public officer, during or while performing his or her official duties or if it harms the honor or reputation of the families or if it is believed that the act of libel is intended to an illegal purpose.

If the act of libel is done by publication in any newspapers or other printed medium, it will be treated as an aggravating situation.


Article 373

Imprisonment up to one year or a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dirhams will be imposed on individuals who, by any means of publicity, insult another person without any specified reason to cause harm on their dignity or honor.

Imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dirhams, or either of these, shall be imposed if a public officer or one who is in charge of public service has been abused during, or by performing his duty or service, if the abuse causes the honor or harms the reputation of families, or if it is found that the abuse is intended to attain an illicit purpose.

However, if the libel is published in a newspaper or printed press, it will be treated as an aggravation.


Article 374

Imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not more than five thousand dirhams will be imposed if the libel is transferred by telephone, or face to face with the victim and in the presence of third parties.

A fine not exceeding five thousand dirhams shall be imposed if slander or libel occurs alone without the presence of a third party or face-to-face with the victim.

It will be treated as an aggravated situation, if libel or slander is committed in any of the cases mentioned in the two paragraphs above, against a public officer or one who is in charge of public service during, because of, or on performing the duty or service, if it harms the honor or damages the reputation of families, or if it is found that it achieves an illegitimate objective.


Article 375

No offense shall be committed if its attribution is addressed to a public servant or person in charge of public service and the fact that the offender is accused in connection with their work or service is established to be true.

In this circumstance, abuse can be proved if it is related to the incident of libel and emerges from the offender himself.

Evidence cannot be provided if the incident occurred five years before, or if the offense is confiscated, or if the sentence passed is deprived.


Article 376

Defamation or libel contained in defending the parties to legal action, whether oral or written, before a court or investigative body does not constitute an offense if it falls within the legal limitations of the defense.


Article 377

Good faith information to a judicial or administrative authority of any matter concerning the responsibility of the accused does not constitute a crime.


Article 378

Anyone who posts information, pictures, or comments concerning the secrets of a person’s private or family life, even if it is genuine, shall be sentenced to imprisonment not more than one year and a fine not more than ten thousand dirhams or one of these penalties.


Federal Decree-Law Number 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrime

Article 20:  If anyone insults or accuses another person of any matter subject to punishment utilizing information technology or through a computer network will be held liable for imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dirhams and not less than two hundred and fifty thousand dirhams or either of these.“If a public servant or employee is defamed or insulted during their work or for any reason, it is considered a serious offense”.

Article 21:  'Penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, not less than one hundred and fifty thousand dirhams, not exceeding five hundred thousand dirhams, or one of two penalties for using a computer network or electronic information system ... Intrusion into another person's privacy except in permissible cases:

  • Pasting, interrupting, recording, transmitting, transferring, exposing, and communicating, audio or visual materials.
  • Photography, creation, transfer, disclosure, copying, or preservation of electronic photos.
  • Publishes news, electronic, photos, images, visuals, comments, statements, or information, even if it is genuine.

Anyone using an information system shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year and a fine of at least two hundred and fifty thousand dirhams and at most five hundred thousand dirhams or either of these for altering or otherwise processing recordings, photos, or scenes to smear or offend others or to invade the privacy of others.