Learn more: Child abduction in the UAE and its consequences

Difference between ‘kidnapping’ and ‘abduction’:

When you talk about kidnapping it usually involves an instance of kidnapping accompanying with a ransom for monetary profits. However, when one talks about abduction, this necessarily may not be so, and can cover an act wherein a person has been taken away from his or her original location by persuading him or her, by some act of fraud or with a forceful way that may or may not include violence.

The Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 promulgating the penal code (the ‘UAE penal Code’) penalizes the act of kidnapping, and Article 344 reads as:

Shall be sentenced to imprisonment, whoever illegally kidnaps, arrests, detains or deprives of freedom, a person by any means whatsoever and whether by himself or through the intermediary of others.

The penalty shall be life imprisonment in the following in- stances:

  1. If the act takes place by impersonating a public capacity, pretending the performance or assignment of a public service or to contact under a false representation.
  2. In case the act is performed by use of subterfuge or ac- companied by use of force, threat of killing, inflicting severe body harm or by acts of physical or psychological torture.
  3. If the act is perpetrated by two or more armed persons.
  4. If the period of kidnapping, arresting, detaining or depriving from freedom exceeds one month.
  5. In case the victim is of female sex, a juvenile, an insane or imbecile person.
  6. In case the purpose of the act is to draw profit, revenge, rape of the victim, disgrace him, injure him or have him perpetrate a crime.
  7. If the act is perpetrated against a public servant during, or because of, the discharge of his duties.

Should the act lead to the death of the victim, the sanction shall be the death penalty or life imprisonment. Shall be sanctioned to the same penalty prescribed for the principal perpetrator, any of the intermediaries in the perpetration of any of the crimes.

Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 concerning child rights, also known as ‘Wadeema Law’, stresses that all children must be provided with appropriate living standards, access to health services, education, equal opportunities in essential services and facilities without any kind of discrimination. The law protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuses.

Parental Child abduction:

What constitutes parental child abduction:

Parental child abduction is an increasing reality today. It can be defined as an act wherein a parent removes a child from its habitual place of residence or domicile without the consent of the other parent. It is also defined as wrongful retention of the child by one parent without the consent of the other parent. Needless to say, the complexities involving parental child kidnapping increases when it occurs internationally and involves different jurisdiction and thus, invites the application of different laws.

Parental child abduction is quite often faced when a couple is contemplating a separation, and it leaves one parent at a disadvantage compared to the other. As a preventive measure the UAE laws allows for a travel ban request to be imposed on minor children at the request of either parent. When the request is allowed by the court, it functions as a preventive measure to ensure that parental child abduction is not allowed.

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