The Dubai Court of Cassation has upheld the Dubai Court of Appeal's ruling issued against an individual accused of hacking into Etisalat's computer network, confirming a Dh10,000 fine (Judgment 4146 of October 19 2002). Etisalat is the government owned, sole telecommunications service provider in the United Arab Emirates

It was alleged that the accused misused Etisalat services through unauthorized penetration of its internet system and opened private emails of Etisalat employees.

In 2001 the Dubai Court of First Instance required the accused to pay a fine of Dh10,000 in respect of the first charge while clearing him of the second.

On appeal from the Dubai Court of Appeal, the Court of Cassation found that the accused's acts fell under Article 46 of Federal Law 1/1991 and Article 380(1) of Law 3/1987 promulgating the Penal Code. The first provision stipulates that imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Dh10,000 is payable by any individual who uses the equipment, services or facilities of Etisalat to cause disturbance or annoyance to others, or for any other illegal purpose. The second provision states that a fine of at least Dh3,000 shall be imposed on any person who opens a letter or telegram without the consent of the intended recipient, or who eavesdrops on a telephone conversation.

The opening of emails of certain Etisalat staff was deemed to violate the provision regarding the opening of letters and telegrams. The court ruled that the wording of this provision extends to all letters regardless of how they are sent, provided that they are in written form and are read without the consent of the intended recipient.

Accordingly, the court found that the accused guilty on both counts and ordered him to pay the Dh10,000 fine.

For further information on this topic please contact Tarek Hajjiri at Al Tamimi & Company by telephone (+971 4331 7090) or by fax (+971 4331 3177) or by email ([email protected]). The Al Tamimi & Company website can be accessed at and