Dubai Courts in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National
Dubai Courts in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National

UAE alcohol law ‘forgot about tourists’



DUBAI // Lawyers and judges are calling for changes to the law concerning tourists and alcohol.

Every day of the year hundreds of thousands of tourists drink alcohol, with few aware that they are breaking the law.

Most foreign residents will be well aware that for them to legally consume alcohol they must obtain a licence, but few realise the same law applies to tourists.

Lawyers say the problem is that it is impossible for a tourist to obtain a licence.

To receive one, applicants must prove they are non-Muslim, aged 21 or older, earning more than Dh3,000 a month and are resident in the UAE.

Therefore, tourists are left in a legal grey area, and while most will leave the country in blissful ignorance that they have broken the law, legal experts warn events can turn sour in a heartbeat for the unlucky few.

Lawyer Yousif Al Bahar gave a theoretical example of a female tourist who had a few drinks while dining at a restaurant. She accidentally stepped on the abaya of an Arab woman.

The woman screamed at the tourist and refused to accept her apology. As the argument escalated she called the police.

When they arrived the dispute was resolved, but the officers smelt alcohol on the tourist and asked for her licence. Unable to produce one, she was taken into custody.

“If this woman tells the authorities that she did not know she needed a licence and promises to obtain one to get out of trouble, she won’t be able to simply because she is not a resident,” Mr Al Bahar said.

“So what should she do? She will have to go to court and face a charge of drinking without a licence. This is proof that the law is in need of amending.”

He said the issue had to be addressed as Dubai attracted more and more tourists.

“There are many ways of solving this problem,” Mr Al Bahar said. “Perhaps tourists could obtain a licence from the airport along with their visa or when they buy their tickets.”

A public prosecutor agreed, saying: “The law forgot about the tourist entirely and this is going to affect tourism in Dubai.”

He called the law contradictory as it allowed non-Muslim residents to drink alcohol, but forbade non-Muslim tourists from doing so.

The prosecutor said the law “needs to be corrected”, pointing out that any tourist who inadvertently fell foul of the law would not return to their home country with complimentary tales of the emirate.

“He or she will give a distorted image of Dubai,” he said.

Advocate Royaa Al Awadi agreed that issuing temporary alcohol licences to tourists when they obtained visas would be one way of solving the problem.

Ms Al Awadi said neither the law nor Islam, from which the law is derived, banned non-Muslims from drinking alcohol, and questioned why tourists should be treated any differently.

Two Dubai Courts judges were of a similar view.

“The law forgot all about the tourist,” one said. “In terms of principle, the law legalises alcohol licences, so what is the point of allowing residents to have such licences but not tourists?”

salamir@thenational.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 

Turkish Ladies

Various artists, Sony Music Turkey 

Schedule for Asia Cup

Sept 15: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (Dubai)

Sept 16: Pakistan v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 17: Sri Lanka v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 18: India v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 19: India v Pakistan (Dubai)

Sept 20: Bangladesh v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi) Super Four

Sept 21: Group A Winner v Group B Runner-up (Dubai) 

Sept 21: Group B Winner v Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 23: Group A Winner v Group A Runner-up (Dubai)

Sept 23: Group B Winner v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 25: Group A Winner v Group B Winner (Dubai)

Sept 26: Group A Runner-up v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 28: Final (Dubai)

New schools in Dubai
THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder

Transmission: CVT auto

Power: 181bhp

Torque: 244Nm

Price: Dh122,900

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Mina Cup winners

Under 12 – Minerva Academy

Under 14 – Unam Pumas

Under 16 – Fursan Hispania

Under 18 – Madenat

South Africa v India schedule

Tests: 1st Test Jan 5-9, Cape Town; 2nd Test Jan 13-17, Centurion; 3rd Test Jan 24-28, Johannesburg

ODIs: 1st ODI Feb 1, Durban; 2nd ODI Feb 4, Centurion; 3rd ODI Feb 7, Cape Town; 4th ODI Feb 10, Johannesburg; 5th ODI Feb 13, Port Elizabeth; 6th ODI Feb 16, Centurion

T20Is: 1st T20I Feb 18, Johannesburg; 2nd T20I Feb 21, Centurion; 3rd T20I Feb 24, Cape Town

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Stree

Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Movies
Director: Amar Kaushik
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee
Rating: 3.5

Your rights as an employee

The government has taken an increasingly tough line against companies that fail to pay employees on time. Three years ago, the Cabinet passed a decree allowing the government to halt the granting of work permits to companies with wage backlogs.

The new measures passed by the Cabinet in 2016 were an update to the Wage Protection System, which is in place to track whether a company pays its employees on time or not.

If wages are 10 days late, the new measures kick in and the company is alerted it is in breach of labour rules. If wages remain unpaid for a total of 16 days, the authorities can cancel work permits, effectively shutting off operations. Fines of up to Dh5,000 per unpaid employee follow after 60 days.

Despite those measures, late payments remain an issue, particularly in the construction sector. Smaller contractors, such as electrical, plumbing and fit-out businesses, often blame the bigger companies that hire them for wages being late.

The authorities have urged employees to report their companies at the labour ministry or Tawafuq service centres — there are 15 in Abu Dhabi.

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Director: Shady Ali
Cast: Boumi Fouad , Mohamed Tharout and Hisham Ismael
Rating: 3/5

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The Dictionary of Animal Languages
Heidi Sopinka
​​​​​​​Scribe

SUE GRAY'S FINDINGS

"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the
way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time.

"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen. It is also the case that some of the
more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. 

"The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture. 

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable." 

How to watch Ireland v Pakistan in UAE

When: The one-off Test starts on Friday, May 11
What time: Each day’s play is scheduled to start at 2pm UAE time.
TV: The match will be broadcast on OSN Sports Cricket HD. Subscribers to the channel can also stream the action live on OSN Play.

We Weren’t Supposed to Survive But We Did

We weren’t supposed to survive but we did.      
We weren’t supposed to remember but we did.              
We weren’t supposed to write but we did.  
We weren’t supposed to fight but we did.              
We weren’t supposed to organise but we did.
We weren’t supposed to rap but we did.        
We weren’t supposed to find allies but we did.
We weren’t supposed to grow communities but we did.        
We weren’t supposed to return but WE ARE.
Amira Sakalla


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today