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criminal law

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March 19, 2017


What are the Penalties for Bringing "Khat" (stimulant drug) into the UAE?

Question: My husband and I are from Africa and he has been arrested for having a khat in his bag at the airport. What is the legal status of khat in the UAE and what is likely to happen to my husband?

Answer: Possession of khat, a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that when chewed acts as a stimulant, is illegal in the UAE. In the Drugs Law, No 14 of 1995 and its amendments, the punishment for possession of such material is a jail sentence of not less than two years. However, the judge has discretionary power under article 42 of the law, so the above sentence could be replaced with one of the following penalties: he could be placed in an addiction treatment unit or rehabilitation centre, as set out in Article 4 of the drugs law; he could be fined anything up to Dh10,000; he could be sentenced to do community service. You should note that his sentence will include deportation.

UPDATE:

The Federal Law No 14 of 1995 on combating narcotics and intoxicants has been repealed and replaced by the Federal Decree Law No 30 of 2021 on Combating Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, issued on 16 September 2021 and came into force as of 2 January 2022. The new law has introduced many changes to the previous law on combating narcotics, including giving courts the discretionary power to make orders related to the deportation of a foreigner under Article 75 of the new law.


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