ABU DHABI // A comprehensive and updated anti-terrorism law that includes harsh punishments for acts related to extremism has been approved by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
The law passed through the FNC, who made amendments in a private session last month, then went to Sheikh Khalifa for final approval.
The federal law consists of about 70 articles and covers areas not included in the 2004 law, such as human trafficking and establishing guidance centres to rehabilitate those exposed to extremism back into society.
Article 41 says: “If a person is found to be terrorism prone, they are referred to one of the guidance centres based on a court ruling and a request by public prosecution.”
The law defines terrorists as people committing any act considered illegal that would lead to results of terror, whether directly or indirectly.
Those results include provoking terror among a group of people, killing or causing harm to people or property, and opposing the state or any other state or international organisation.
In addition to weapons including firearms, missiles and explosives, the law adds non-typical weapons as a tool for terrorism.
They include any device designed to kill others or harm lives through the spread of poisonous chemicals, an infectious creature or radiation.
Those who produce, prepare, import, export, possess or transport non-typical weapons for terrorist purposes would be issued a life sentence.
Those who steal or acquire by force, fraud, threat or blackmail any of these weapons would be punished by death or a life sentence.
The law issues capital or life punishments to many acts, such as impersonating a public figure and wrongfully claiming to be on assignment for a public service.
The same applies to those who start, run or manage a secret organisation.
A death sentence could also be issued to anyone found guilty of attacking or endangering the life of the President, Vice President, or any of the Rulers and their families.
Article 13 had its penalty upgraded by the FNC to death or a life sentence for anyone who holds hostage a female, a juvenile or mentally disabled person.
Ali Al Abbadi, a lawyer who has handled a number of terrorism-related cases at the State Security Court, said the law should have clear definitions of all aspects to do with such crimes.
“Acts of terrorism are expanding and have crossed continents, so the legislature always see it fit to update the laws accordingly,” Mr Al Abbadi said.
“The law should define clearly what is a terrorism crime and the related legislations should be clear to lift off ignorance and misunderstandings.”
He gave the example of new terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State, who disguise their operations with religious claims and promote conflict between sects.
While the UAE is stable and secure country, other countries who oppressed their people gave a fertile ground for the growth of such groups, who tempted people to follow them, Mr Al Abbadi said.
Other penalties issued in the law include five years in prison at least to anyone caught with mock explosives or bombs in public.