criminal law


May 26, 2021



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Extradition process is subject to regional and international law. It refers to an action wherein one sovereign jurisdiction (requested State) delivers a person either acquitted or convicted of an international crime to the law enforcement of another jurisdiction (requesting State) upon their official request. Compliance with an extradition request involves transferring the physical custody of the accused person to the recognized legal authority of the requesting jurisdiction.

The Federal law no. 39 of 2006 on the ‘Mutual judicial cooperation in criminal matters’ lays down the framework for the extradition process in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is also a signatory to various bilateral treaties for judicial cooperation with numerous countries such as China, France, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan etc. UAE is also a signatory to the ‘Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial cooperation’ with the nations of Algeria, Libya, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco and Jordan.

Pursuant to the bilateral treaty signed between the UAE and China in 2008, extradition measures are initiated by both states based on the ‘reciprocity’ principle. An extradition request issued to the UAE by the Chinese government will be accepted by the UAE authorities if the following grounds are satisfied:

  • The crime for which the surrender is requested must be penalized by the Law of the requesting State with imprisonment of at least one year or any other greater penalty.
  • The crime for which the surrender is requested must constitute in the territories of the State (UAE), a crime penalized by imprisonment of at least one year or any other greater penalty.
  • If the request for surrender is related to the service of a sentence of imprisonment rendered in any of the crimes for which the surrender is requested, the remaining period of the sentence to be served must not be less than six months in order for the surrender to be performed.
  • Shall have no effect on the determination whether the act for which the surrender of a person is requested constitutes a penalized crime in the Laws of the two States, that the crime is mentioned under a different name or description or should their elements differ from each other.

Challenging an extradition request in the UAE:

The extradition process in the UAE allows for a challenge to be put forward for extradition by making the request through the following entities as per the order of authority and procedure: The local law enforcement authorities, the Public prosecution office, the court of appeals, the Cassation Courts, the Ministry of Justice.

It may also be understood that pursuant to Article 9 of the UAE Extradition law, there exists ten specific grounds upon which an extradition request will be rejected in the UAE:

  • If the requested person is a UAE citizen
  • If the judicial authorities in the UAE have the jurisdiction concerning the crime for which the surrender of the person has been requested.
  • If the crime is a political crime or correlated to a political crime.
  • If the crime is limited to offences against military obligations
  • If significant grounds contributed to believe that the request for surrender aim for the prosecution or penalizing of a person for reasons related to his ethnic or religious affiliation, or his nationality or political opinions or if the existence of any of these grounds shall damage the position of this person.
  • If the requested person was subjected to investigation or trial procedures in the UAE for the same crime for which the crime is requested.
  • If the requested person was previously tried for the crime for which the surrender is requested and a judgment of acquittal or conviction is rendered and that he has fully served the adjudged sentence.
  • If an irrevocable judgment is rendered by the courts in the UAE regarding the crime for which the surrender is requested.
  • If the criminal lawsuit is terminated or if the sentence is forfeited by time limitation when submitting the request for surrender.
  • If the requested person was subjected or may be subjected within the requesting State to torture, inhuman or insulting treatment or a severe sentence not appropriate to the crime or if the minimum standard of guarantees determined in the Penal Procedures Code is not available.

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