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United Arab Emirates: New Law Imposes Sanctions on Online Demands for Regime Change

(Nov. 19, 2012) On November 13, 2012, the United Arab Emirates amended Federal Law 2-2006 on electronic crimes. The amended legislation includes provisions that punish anyone convicted of using digital means to call for a regime change, to tarnish the reputation of the federal government, or to post sarcastic comments about public officials.

The new amendments impose the punishment of imprisonment on individuals found guilty of going online to invoke the suspension of the UAE Constitution, laws, or basic principles of governance. The Law also criminalizes the dissemination of invitations or plans to organize protests using social networks. The new Law imposes sanctions against individuals convicted of using the Internet to send information about the country that is deemed to be false to any entity or organization.

In addition to prescribing imprisonment for the perpetrator of any of the abovementioned offenses, the Law states that the electronic account of the offender will be shut down. Foreigners committing any of the aforementioned acts will be deported immediately. (Law to Punish Individuals Calling Online for the Change of Regime [in Arabic], AL YOUM AL SABI’A (Nov. 13, 2012); Federal Law 2-2006 [in Arabic], Computer Emergency Response Team of the UAE (AECERT) website (last visited Nov. 19, 2012); The Federal Law No. (2) of 2006 on the Prevention of InformationTechnology Crimes (Jan. 30, 2006),AECERT website (unofficial English translation).)