Extradition Procedures in the UAE
This article will address the extradition procedures in the UAE along with the legal framework surrounding it. The process of extradition shall be highlighted with the addition of several exceptions or defences. Successful extradition procedures that the UAE has been involved in will also be evident.
Extradition is a legal procedure in which one country surrenders a person to another country, to face trial or punishment for crimes that they committed within the requesting country’s jurisdiction. The significance of extradition lies in the basis that governments are able to corporate with each other regarding the prosecution of criminals who flee a country to evade justice.
The UAE has made itself extremely familiar with extradition procedures, as they have extradition treaties with numerous countries such as the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, China, France, and South Africa. Each of these treaties grounds the legal framework for extradition between the UAE and the relevant country.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), extradition procedures are governed by the UAE’s “Extradition Law”, Federal Law No. 39 of 2006 on Mutual Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters. This law sets out the procedures for extradition and outlines certain conditions under which a person may be extradited in the UAE.
Process of Extradition
Step one: Article 11 of the UAE’s Extradition Law specifies that the requesting country must make any request for extradition through diplomatic channels to the appropriate department.
Step two: The requests are prepared and sent by the International Co-operation Department of the Public Prosecution, who ensures the request is sent under the conditions set out in the law.
For instance, the request must include all necessary information and documents, such as the name and physical description of the individual, legal provisions applicable to the offence, the potential penalty, and, if the individual has already been convicted, the relevant judgment and evidence of its enforceability. The department also ensures that the documents are appropriately translated into the language of the requested country.
Article 7 of the Extradition Law outlines the prerequisites for extradition:
- The offence must be punishable under the laws of both the UAE and the requesting country, with a minimum penalty of one year.
- If the extradition is for serving a prison sentence, the remaining duration of the sentence should be at least six months.
- As long as the offense for which extradition is requested is considered punishable under the laws of both the requesting state and the UAE, it does not matter if the offense is referred to by a different name, description, or if the elements of the offense are different.
- UAE citizenship: if the person is a UAE national, the court will refuse extradition under the law.
- Jurisdiction: if the legal regulations in a state define the competent judicial entities that have jurisdiction over the offense for which the surrender of individuals is being requested.
- Political offences: Extradition can be denied for offences that are considered political in nature such as war crimes, terrorism, genocide, treason etc.
- Military offences: If the extradition request relates solely to offenses related to military obligations.
- Prejudice: Prejudice against ethnicity or religious beliefs, nationality and political affiliations.
- Already tried: If the requested person has already undergone investigation or trial procedures in the UAE for the same crime for which extradition is being requested.
- Termination or time limitation: If the criminal lawsuit has been terminated or if the sentence has been forfeited due to time limitation at the time of submitting the extradition request.
- Death penalty: if the accused faces a death penalty in the requesting country, he can be denied extradition.
- Human Rights: Extradition can be denied if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused would suffer or already has suffered a violation of their human rights, such as torture, in the requesting country.
If applicable, they are also bound by the treaties shared with numerous countries. In the absence of such treaties, courts will refer to domestic laws governing judicial cooperation to determine whether to approve or deny an extradition request. If the court rules that the individual can be extradited, the UAE’s Minister of Justice must approve the ruling. The Minister of Justice has the authority to approve or reject the extradition or to approve it with conditions, such as the requirement that the person should not face the death sentence in the requesting country.
Successful Extradition Procedures in the UAE
Extradition of Sanjay Shah, 2022: Dubai court approved the extradition to Denmark of a British financier responsible of a $1.7 billion tax scheme that occurred from 2012 to 2015. He was arrested in 2022 following an extradite request from Denmark.
Another successful extradition in 2019 regards an Indian businessman, Sanjay Bhandari, for being wanted in India for alleged financial crimes. Having lived in the UAE since 2000, he was arrested in 2016 after the Indian Authorities sought extradition. In 2019, the UAE Supreme Court approved Bhandari’s extradition. These successful extraditions show the UAE’s commitment to international legal cooperation as well as its adherence to strict extradition processes and conditions.
The UAE has a well-established legal framework surrounding extradition that is founded on foreign treaties and agreements as well as domestic laws. The decision to grant extradition is ultimately up to UAE officials, who must weigh the interests of justice against the rights of the individual sought. Nevertheless, the UAE is committed to international cooperation on legal issues, including extradition, and has strict conditions and procedures to ensure the accused’s rights are protected while the UAE’s sovereignty and security are not jeopardised.
It should be noted that this article should not be considered as expert legal advice. If you would like to obtain any legal advice regarding business setups or financial freezones, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a 30-minute free consultation with the legal counsels at our firm, Al Reyami Advocates and Muhyealdeen International Legal Consultants.