The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently announced a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws.
Under the recent rulings, the government has given the green light to decriminalise consumption of alcohol as well as cohabitation.
The law reform is aimed at improving the country’s economic and social status as well. It was also done as an effort to attract tourists and investors to come to the country. To quote Daily Mail, the move is taken following a “historic US-brokered deal to normalise relations between the UAE and Israel”, which is expected to bring an influx of travellers and investment from the latter country.
Previously, alcohol consumption was only permissible for foreigners with special licenses. Through this new law, UAE citizens can also purchase and drink alcoholic beverage. Having said that, National News sheds some more light on the rules that still exist regarding the consumption of alcohol in the country:
- Alcohol can only be consumed privately or in licensed public places.
- An individual must be at least 21 to drink legally in the UAE.
- Anyone caught selling alcohol to any underaged individuals will be penalised, according to the amendments to Federal Law No 3 of 1987 of the Penal Code.
- The amendments also give the emirates “the right to issue legislation regulating this issue”.
In another update about the new law, unmarried citizens or foreigners were considered guilty if lived together under one roof. However, with the announcement of the major overhaul, locals as well as non-natives of the countries under the UAE are now permitted to practise cohabitation.
In the meantime, suicide or attempted suicide will not be considered a crime in the UAE. Divorce and inheritance rulings have also been overhauled.