Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the United Arab Emirates.

Under Emirati law, multiple crimes carry the death penalty, and executions are carried out through a firing squad. [1][2][3][4] Current law allows the death penalty for treason, espionage, murder, successfully inciting the suicide of a mentally ill person, arson resulting in death, indecent assault resulting in death, nuclear waste disposal in the environment, apostasy, homosexuality[5], rape of a minor, perjury causing wrongful execution, aggravated robbery, terrorism, drug trafficking[4] and joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[3][2] Overseas nationals and UAE nationals have both been executed for crimes.


Since 2020, stoning is no longer a legal form of punishment following an amendment to the Federal Penal Code.[6] Before 2020, stoning was the default method of execution for adultery,[7] and several people were sentenced to death by stoning,[8][9][10][11].

Notable cases

In 1995, Sarah Balabagan, a Filipino worker, caught the attention of many people living in the UAE. She was reported to have murdered her employer in his Al Ain house, although she has always maintained that she only killed him in self-defence after he tried to rape her. After the UAE president himself got involved, Balabagan was set free and had to pay compensation instead. However, she was deported back to her country and her right to remain in the country was cancelled.[12]

On February 10, 2011, Rashid Al Rashidi was executed by firing squad. He was convicted of raping and murdering a four-year-old boy, Moosa Mukhtiar, in the toilets of a mosque on November 27, 2009.[13][14]

On January 21, 2014, a Sri Lankan national was executed after being convicted of killing an Emirati businessman by mowing him down with his car.

In June 2015, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced an Emirati terrorist woman, Alaa Bader al-Hashemi, to death for the murder of Ibolya Ryan and planting a "handmade bomb" in an Egyptian-American doctor's home in Abu Dhabi. The woman committed the crime in December 2014 and was executed at dawn on July 13, 2015.[15] This is the only time that a prisoner has been executed within such a short time frame and this is one of the few cases of a woman being executed.[citation needed]

On November 23, 2017, Nidal Eisa Abdullah, a man who raped and killed an eight-year-old boy in May 2016, was executed.[16]

On April 5, 2022 an Israeli woman was sentenced to death in Abu Dhabi for drug smuggling.[17] Her sentence was later overturned by an appeals court and commuted to life imprisonment.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Timeline of executions in UAE". Gulf News. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "UAE sentences 'jihadi teenager' to death for joining IS". The New Arab. 10 January 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b "UAE sentences four to death for joining IS". The New Arab. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Death Penalty in United Arab Emirates". Death Penalty Worldwide. Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Federal Decree Law No. (15) of 2020". Ministry of Justice. 27 September 2020. Pages 1, Article 1 "The provisions of the Islamic Shari’a shall apply to the retribution and blood money crimes. Other crimes and their respective punishments shall be provided for in accordance with the provisions of this Law and other applicable penal codes". Archived from the original on 31 May 2023. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  7. ^ Youssef, Marten (21 February 2010). "Call for more information on the death penalty". The National. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  8. ^ Wheeler, Julie (28 February 2000). "UAE death sentence by stoning". BBC News. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  9. ^ Jahanhir, Asma (17 January 2001). "Droits Civils et Politiques et Notamment Dispartitions et Exécutions Sommaires" (PDF). Conseil Économique et Social des Nations Unies (in French). Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  10. ^ Amnesty International (12 June 2006). "UAE: Death by stoning / flogging". Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  11. ^ Al Deberkey, Salah (11 June 2006). "Fujairah Shariah court orders man to be stoned to death for adultery". Khaleej Times. Archived from the original on 8 July 2006.
  12. ^ "Judicial caning, Arab Emirates, Oct 1995 - CORPUN ARCHIVE aeju9510".
  13. ^ "Child killer is executed by firing squad". The National. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Dubai mosque murderer executed". 10 February 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  15. ^ "UAE woman sentenced to death for killing US teacher". Express Tribune. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Man who raped, killed eight-year-old boy Obaida executed". 23 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Israeli receives death penalty in UAE for drug possession".
  18. ^ "Israeli death penalty sentence commuted to life imprisonment". The Times of Israel.