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March 24, 2019|
Rape is a heinous crime and like other jurisdictions of the world, entails strict punishments. The present article revolves around the criminal action taken against the accused who has committed an offence of rape and the procedure under which any aggrieved victim can file a complaint before the relevant authority.
Rape and other sexual offences are covered under chapter Five regarding “Crimes Involving Sexual Assault” under Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 On the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Criminal Penal Code).
Rape: In accordance with this law, any person who performs sexual intercourse with a female without her consent will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
That said, if the victim is less than 18 years of age, lacks volition or suffers from a condition resulting in her inability to resist, the punishment is stricter and accordingly, the death penalty could be imposed. The death penalty may also be applicable in case the criminal is a mahram (unmarriageable kin), or who is trusted with the upbringing or care of the victim or has authority over her, or is her servant.
The death penalty could also be imposed in case rape leads to the death of a victim.
Sexual Molestation: Additionally, the Penal Code also punishes sexual molestation. Sexually molesting a male or a female could result in a jail sentence and/or fines of not less than AED 10,000. If the act or attempt to molest is associated with force or threat, the penalty will be stricter and involves imprisonment for a period ranging between 5 years to 20 years.
The criminal could be liable for imprisonment between 10 years to 25 years if the victim is below 18 years or lacks volition or suffers from a physical incapacity leading to her being incapable of resisting. Similar penalties are applicable if the crime is committed in the place of work or study, in a shelter or a care facility or if the criminal is a mahram, or entrusted with the victim’s upbringing or a servant.
If the victim dies as a result of the sexual molestation, the death penalty will be imposed.
In addition to the above, under Article 409, any person who has sexual intercourse with a woman or commits a lewd act with a male of 18 years, with consent, will be liable for imprisonment for not less than 6 months. However, a criminal lawsuit for these crimes can only be filed based on the complaint by the spouse or the guardian. The spouse or the guardian is also given the right to waive the lawsuit, in which the criminal lawsuit will be terminated or if the judgment has already been pronounced, it will lead to a stay of the enforcement of the sentence imposed.
The new law aims to broaden the ambit of the provisions of the crime of rape, with the penalties getting increasingly harsher with capital punishment as a penalty when other conditions are met.
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