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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Sheikh Khalifa approves law setting out fines of up to Dh10 million for damaging antiquities

Legislation to ensure protection of monuments and artefacts

President Sheikh Khalifa has approved a law that will protect monuments and artefacts, such as these owned by a collector in Abu Dhabi, from sale, damage and being defaced. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
President Sheikh Khalifa has approved a law that will protect monuments and artefacts, such as these owned by a collector in Abu Dhabi, from sale, damage and being defaced. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

President Sheikh Khalifa has approved a law that will protect monuments and artefacts from sale, damage and being defaced, with huge fines and potential ail time for those that breach the new legislation.

The Federal Law No 11 of 2017 on Antiquities is aimed at preserving the UAE's fixed assets 'in order to promote national identity and preserve cultural heritage, for the purpose of reviving and enriching the national heritage of the country', news agency Wam reported.

The provisions of the law shall apply to national effects and shall not apply to foreign items except in cases where this is expressly stated, Wam reported.

The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development shall prepare a national registry containing data and information on the effects, registration, provided by the authorities.

When the draft bill was passed by the Federal National Council, it was stated that anyone who defaces or destroys an antiquity or artefact could face a minimum of two years in jail and Dh10 million in fines.

Building on, planting or changing the characteristics of an archaeological site, making excavations without a permit and smuggling items into or out of the country would be punishable with the same penalties.

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