How Does the Extradition Process Work for Criminal Matters?

criminal law


December 27, 2022



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Extradition in common language, is understood as the process under which one country, on the request of another country, returns a requested person, to the requested country, based on crimes committed by the requested person in the requesting country, subject to meeting conditions as set out in the law or applicable treaties.

Applicable Law in the UAE

In the UAE, extradition of requested persons is governed by the Federal Law No. 39 of 2006 on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (“Extradition Law”).

The Extradition Law is usually applied if the UAE and the requesting country do not have a treaty existing in respect of extradition. For example, the UAE has existing extradition treaties with many countries, including India, Italy, Australia and South Africa. UAE has also entered into a multilateral treaty, called the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Cooperation, with many Arab countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Oman, amongst others.

Process of Extradition from the UAE

According to Article 11 of the Extradition Law, a request for surrender has to submitted by the requesting country through diplomatic channels to the competent department and supported by the requisite information and documents, such as the name and description of the requested person, legal texts applicable to the crime, and the penalty applicable, judgment of conviction, in case the requested person has already been convicted, with proof that the judgment is enforceable. All documents and information is required to be legalised and translated into the Arabic language.

However, it must be noted that the UAE will not allow extradition of a person if, under Article 9 of the Extradition Law:

  1. he is a UAE national;
  2. the crime object is of a political nature. Terrorist crimes, war crimes, genocides are not considered as political crimes;
  3. the crime object is limited to offenses against military obligations;
  4. the request for surrender is aimed at penalising or prosecuting a person for his religious, nationality or ethnic affiliations;
  5. the requested person was previously tried and convicted or acquitted for the same crime;
  6. the courts in the UAE have already rendered an irrevocable judgment regarding the crime for which his extradition has been requested;
  7. there is time lapse or the criminal lawsuit has been terminated; or
  8. he may be subjected to inhuman, insulting treatment or torture in the requesting country if he is extradited.

Conditions to Extradite

In addition to the above, the request for surrender is subject to the following key conditions: the crime has to be penalised by the laws of the UAE and the requesting country of at least 1 year or more. Further, in case the extradition request relates to serving a sentence of imprisonment (for which the judgment has already been pronounced by the courts of the requesting country), the remaining period for serving the sentence should be at least 6 months. This has been provided under Article 7 of the Extradition Law.

Decision of the Court

The competent court is entitled to determine whether the requested person should be returned to the requesting country. This determination should be in compliance with law and the reasons for arriving at a decision should be justified (Article 20)

Other Considerations

The Extradition Law also allows for the UAE authorities to provisionally arrest the requested person in cases of urgency. Additional documents and information may also be requested by UAE authorities if it is deemed that information submitted is insufficient.


The Extradition Law is comprehensive and provides the process of extradition in case a person is required to be returned from the UAE to the requesting country. That said, if there is a treaty or convention of extradition existing, reliance would have to be put on such a treaty, and the procedures as set out in such a treaty would be followed.

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