Law No. (2) of 2020 introducing some amendments to the of Penal Code No. (11) of 2004.
The new amendments to the Penal Code (“New Amendments”) introduce some amendments to the existing articles of the Penal Code as well as enacting new articles to penalize some acts that are of negative impact on the society.
Amendments to current articles of the Penal Code
Territorial application of the Penal Code
- The new Amendments introduced an amendment regarding the territorial application of the Penal Code on crimes that take place on planes or ships.
The New Amendments provides an amendment to Article (15) of the Penal Code which provides that the Penal Code shall not apply on crimes committed on foreign planes or ships due to their passage in the territory of Qatar. However, the Penal Code shall apply in the following events:
- – If the consequences of crime were extended to the State.
- – In case the crime, per se, relates to the state security, or disturbs the public peace, public order or navigation in the State’s public airspace or territorial sea.
- – If the captain of ship or plane or the diplomatic representative of the state which the plane or ship raises it flag, asked for the Qatari authorities’ help.
- – If the defendant or victim is Qatari national or a foreigner who holds a valid residency permit in Qatar when the crime was committed.
- – If the measures taken by the State are necessary to combat illegal trafficking of narcotics.
The New Amendments also introduce amendment to Article (16) of the Penal Code which now provides that the Penal Code shall also apply to any crimes committed outside Qatar if such crimes are directed to internal or external security of the State or in crimes related to bribery, embezzlement of public funds or counterfeiting currencies or official documents or stamps and promulgation of any counterfeited currencies.
Publishing false news
The New Amendments introduces a new Article (136 bis) whereby any person who publishes or re-publishes or broadcasts false news or rumors inside or outside of the State as long as its intention is to damage the national interest or incitement of public opinion or affecting the social regime or public order in the State, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of maximum five year and a fine of a maximum of QAR 100,000 or one of them. The said punishment shall be doubled if it took place in a wartime. This amendment covers all platforms of publications including social media.
The New Amendments introduces a new Article (145 bis) and (184) whereby if a foreign employee who works for a public institution or international organization in the State accepts bribery, he shall be punished with a maximum term of ten years and a fine of double the bribery, or if he committed the crime to facilitate the international trade.
Moreover, the person who gives bribe shall be exempted from punishment if he reported to the authorities before the investigations take place.
In addition, the New Amendments also stress on the penalization of abuse of authority/ power by official employees.
The New Amendments also introduces Article (245 bis) which penalizes all forms of piracy and imposes a sentence of life imprisonment for any act of piracy. Moreover, in case the act of piracy resulted the death of a person, the sentence would be escalated to death penalty.
The New Amendments add new chapter to the Penal Code by adding Article (395 bis) which criminalizes the constitution or participation in criminal gangs of at least 3 persons for a period of time to commit crimes or to get illegal financial benefit. The Article imposes a punishment of imprisonment of a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years and a fine of not more than QAR 100,000.
Moreover, the amendments exempt the reporter from punishment as long as the report is made before the investigations are initiated.
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