Sharjah: Any wife or husband who inspects each other’s phone without their partner’s permission may get three months in jail in addition to a fine ranging from Dh3,000 to Dh5,000, lawyers said.

The violators can be prosecuted under Federal Penal Code No 380 which protects the privacy and freedom of both spouses.

The clarification came after recent messages on social media channels circulating in the UAE, warning wives of legal consequences if they inspect phones of their husbands without their permission. Many woman inquired about the credibility of such information, the lawyer said.

Lawyer Mohammad Al Owais told Gulf News that the law in the UAE protects privacy and criminalises anyone who breaches it even if the violator and the victim are couples. Referring to the messages, he emphasised that Article 380 dealing with breach of privacy can be applied if someone discloses or spreads information stored on a victim’s mobile phone. The law does not mention couples specifically,,. but checking mobile phones without permission falls under the purview of this law, he explained.

Al Owaisi said he has handled similar cases and they are in courts. He cited the case of an Arab woman who lodged a divorce case at a court. She submitted pictures of phone call logs, messages, bank statements and other private documents taken from her husband’s phone and submitted them to the court as evidence.

Lawyer Mohammad Abdullah Al Redha said as per Articles 14 and 21 of the Cybercrime Law, any person who illegally accesses your smartphone without permission could face up to three years in jail and/or a fine ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh500,000. Both laws are applicable and punishment is decided as per the judge’s discretion, the lawyer said.