Promotion of Explosives And Firearms Online Can Result in Imprisonment and Fines

Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy | View firm profile

Misuse of the internet is severely punished, with crimes such as hacking, breaching private or government data, spreading rumors or fake news, tampering with data of certain authorities, defaming individuals or religious beliefs being heavily penalized.

The promotion of firearms in the UAE, in any way, is also strictly prohibited. Unless legally permitted by the relevant authorities, it is a punishable offence under the UAE Cybercrime Law to create platforms for the promotion and sale of firearms and explosives.

Following Article 29 of Federal Decree-Law No. 34 of 2021 Concerning the Fight Against Rumours and Cybercrime, which prohibits the promotion of firearms and explosives online:

  1. creating, managing or supervising a website, or
  2. publishing information on the information network or any other information technology method

for the purposes of trafficking or supplying firearms, ammunition or explosives, except when legally permitted, can lead to detention for a period not less than one year, and/or a fine of at least AED 500,000, going up to 1 million dirhams.

Criminal Measures: Upon conviction, the following measures may be taken, as per Article 59 of the UAE Cybercrime Law:

  1. the offender may be placed under electronic surveillance, be deprived from the usage of any information technology method or network, or may be submitted to a rehabilitation centre, for a specified period
  2. shutting down the website promoting such trafficking or supply of firearms
  3. blocking such website, whether wholly or in part, for a specified period The designated period of these measures may be extended by the court, and anyone found violating any of these measures will also be liable to punishment, of detention not more than a year, or a fine of five thousand dirhams. Moreover, as per Article 56 of the law, the hardware or software used in the commission of, or any funds generated from the abovementioned offence will be confiscated.

Aggravating Circumstances: Going by Article 60(3) of the law, if a person commits this offence for the benefit of or to favor a foreign state, a terrorist or inimical group, or an illegitimate organization, it will be considered as aggravating circumstances, and the offender may be penalized accordingly.

The UAE Cybercrime Law covers all situations which may lead to compromise in the security of the country as well as breach of personal data. Even an attempt to indulge in misdemeanours enlisted under the Cybercrime Law may result in conviction, and will be punishable by half of what the prescribed penalty of the offence is. This is as per Article 57 of the law.

Along with enacting a comprehensive cybercrime law, the UAE has specific regulations governing the protection of personal data, information assets, digital safety of children, as well as several platforms through which the general public can report cyber-attacks or suspicious activities, as well as gain awareness regarding cyberspace and its implications.

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