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UAE “normalizes” personal status legislation


After normalization with Israel, the United Arab Emirates took steps to harmonize the normalization process internally by amending some personal laws and civil transactions. In details, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced on Saturday amendments to the personal status laws, civil transaction and penal and criminal procedure bills. These include notably the following: the abolition of the article that provides mitigating excuses for so-called honor killings, hence subjecting them to provisos related to murder crimes in the penal code; decriminalizing acts in the penal code that do not cause harm to others; allowing non-citizens to choose the laws that apply to them in relation to inheritance in the personal status law; scrapping penalties for the consumption, sales and possession of alcohol for those 21 and above, and allowing cohabitation of unmarried couples. The amendments also toughened penalties for sexual harassment and set the death penalty for “rape of a minor” crimes, while decriminalizing suicide and attempted suicide acts. The amendments, which come as part of efforts to develop the legislative and investment environment, promote tolerance, and build a safe social and economic environment, become effective immediately, the Emirates News Agency reported. (Al Diyar, November 8, 2020)

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