UAE Family Matters: Husband Files Complaint About Brother’s Offensive Email

Question: Last year my brother sent me an email in which he swore at my husband. My husband recently discovered this email and lodged a complaint against my brother at a Dubai police station and now the case has gone to court. I would like to know: can the case be dropped if my brother apologises to my husband in court?

Answer: It appears that your husband lodged a complaint under article 20 of the Law 5 of 2012, which states that “without prejudice to the crime of slander determined by Islamic Sharia, [an offender] 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 whoever insults or accuses another person of a matter of which he shall be subject to punishment or being held in contempt by others, by using a computer network or an information technology means. If a slander or insult is committed against a public official or servant in the course of or because of his work, this shall be considered an aggravating factor of the crime”. However, article 10 of the Criminal Procedure Law states that a complaint is not accepted after three months has elapsed “from the day of victim’s knowledge of the crime and the criminal, unless otherwise stipulated by the law”. By successfully lodging the complaint, it seems that your husband managed to prove to the court that he had no knowledge of the defamatory email for the year since it was sent and that he then reported the matter within three months of him knowing about it. By virtue of Article 16 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the complainant may relinquish, or drop, the complaint at any time before a final judgment is issued but the acceptance of such a request is at court’s discretion.

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