Are Online Threats a Serious Crime? A Look into UAE Cybercrime Laws

Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy | View firm profile


In the age of the internet, where communication and interaction occur digitally, the frequency of online threats and cybercrimes has become a growing concern for governments worldwide.In response to this challenge, the UAE has enacted laws to combat cyber threats and ensure the safety and security of its citizens and residents in the digital world.

Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021:

Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 Concerning the Fight Against Rumours and Cybercrime specifically addresses electronic extortion and threats. Under Article 42 of this decree-law, anyone who uses information networks or technology to extort or threaten another person may face penalties of detention for up to 2 years and/or fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.

Furthermore, the cyber law extends its purview to include insults and slander spread via digital platforms. Article 43 outlines penalties for those damaging another’s reputation or provoking disrespect through information systems. The gravity of these offences may increase to provisional imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021:

Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 On the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law supplements these provisions with further penalties for various forms of threats. Articles 402 to 404 outline punishments for different degrees of threats, depending on the severity and circumstances. For instance, threatening someone with harm to life, property, or reputation may result in temporary imprisonment or a jail sentence, depending on the specifics of the threat.

Additionally, Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 extends beyond penalizing direct threats. Article 405 of the UAE penal code addresses situations where individuals are detained while carrying dangerous tools or equipment that could pose a threat to public security or safety.

Furthermore, these laws emphasize the aggravating circumstances when threats are directed at public servants or officials in the course of their duties. Such actions not only endanger the individual targeted but also undermine the stability and functioning of public institutions.


The UAE’s legislative measures against online threats by imposing penalties for electronic extortion, intimidation, and defamation, aim to create a safer digital environment for its citizens and residents. However, as technology evolves, it remains imperative to continually assess and update these laws to effectively combat emerging cyber threats.


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