Pranking someone in the UAE isn’t illegal given that it does not affect one of the following rules....
Planning a prank in the UAE can get you lots of laughter and giggles, but one wrong move and it could land you in jail.
Once, a British woman was jailed for three months in Dubai after she had thrown a prank after a brunch.
The 22-year-old, along with five of her friends, decided to prank a computer executive in a Dubai restaurant over the weekend – ultimately leaving the man with a broken nose.
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The events unraveled after the British expat decided to snap a picture of the 54-year-old Swedish IBM executive who was caught sleeping in the restaurant after the brunch hour at Al Fattan Currency House in DIFC.
While posing and snapping pictures beside the sleeping man and he was then awakened by a slap on the face and loud laughter. The Swedish expat was startled and found himself surrounded by the group, who was still recording him.
After following the group outside, a two-way altercation left the Swedish man with a bloody face and a broken nose.
CCTV and a security guard both confirmed that the man was sleeping when the group approached him to pull this prank.
While living in Dubai, one must be mindful of the rules and regulations that govern the country – and while pranking someone in Dubai may not be illegal, the following results of a prank can get you in trouble.
Damage to public/private property
If a prank leads to any damage to public property in the UAE, you may be expected to pay a hefty fine and at times spend some time in jail.
And if any damage is done to private property, the owner may issue a damage lawsuit against you and hold you reliable for the actions of your prank in court.
Things can easily escalate when you decide to pull a prank on someone – what you deem as an innocent prank may be insulting to others.
Article 282 of the Civil Code of Dubai states the following: ““Any harm done to another shall render the doer thereof, even though not a person of discretion, liable to make good the harm.”
So if, at any time, your prank escalates to physical or verbal harassment/threats then expect to be slapped with jail time – and in extreme cases, deportation out of the country.
It's important to note that it's advised to avoid any dangerous pranks that might cause you any harm - putting your life at risk or intentional self-harm.
Cause moral harm
The UAE is an Arab country that follows the Islam-sharia law, which believes in a lot of customs and prohibits a lot of practices that some expats might not agree with.
However, living in the country means you have to be able to adjust to the UAE’s traditions, customs, and religious practices.
Therefore, if a prank was done to intentionally cause moral harm to a person or the country’s liberty, dignity, honour, reputation, social standing or financial credit will be regarded as moral harm and will be punished – according to Article 293 of the UAE civil code.
Stop when told
A prank should never be enjoyed by one party – if more than one authority figure, may it be a security guard, duty guard or policeman tell you to stop what you’re doing, then it’s important to do so.
No prank is worth the risk of paying a hefty fine, landing you in jail, or leading you to leave the country – so just be mindful that your prank is not done at someone else’s expense.
Also keep in mind that take a video/recording a conversation without the other party's consent or knowledge is illegal in the UAE and can get you jail time - according to Article 378 of Federal Law No.(3)