ABU DHABI 2 June 2017: The Federal National Council (FNC), adopted a draft federal law regarding antiques after it created and adjusted a number of articles and clauses, during its 16th session of the second ordinary session of the 16th legislative term at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, headed by Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the FNC.
The council stressed the importance of the draft antiques law, which aims to maintain permanent and movable antiques in the country, to strengthen the national identity, maintain the cultural heritage and excavate and display antiques with the aim of reviving and enriching the country’s national heritage.
According to the draft law, the law applies to national antiques and not to foreign antiques, except in situations where it dictates that this is clearly in the law and when the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development is working in co-ordination with the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and the relevant authority to protect the antiques.
The draft law prohibits the disposing of antiques or transferring ownership without a licence or authorisation from the relevant authority.
It also prohibits the trading in antiques without a licence or authorisation from the relevant authority, according to legislations.
According to the law draft, it is prohibited to begin executing large developments or establishing projects or infrastructural works until the relevant authority has completed a search for antiques in the areas that are the locations of these projects.
According to the draft law, temporary imprisonment and a fine of between Dh200,000 and Dh500,000 are the potential punishments for anyone who steals an antique or part of it, or for hiding it with the intention of owning it, or taking it illegally.
Imprisonment for a period of no less than two years and a fine of no less than Dh500,000 and not over Dh10,000,000 is the punishment for anyone who commits the act of destroying, damaging or deforming an antique, levelling an antiquity site or building establishments on top of it, as well as planting, taking, changing the appearance of antiques, and excavating antiquity sites without a licence from the relevant authority. Also included in these punishments is smuggling antiques inside or outside the country and providing incorrect data, records or documents, as well as counterfeiting national or foreign antiques.
In all cases, authorities will confiscate the antique in the crime scene, devices, tools, machines and the different means used in the crime without breaching the rights of others.
According to the draft law, imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh100,000 and no more than Dh300,000 or one of these two punishments is the punishment for anyone who purposely commits the act of breaking the terms of licencing to excavate for antiques or taking, transferring or using ruins or rocks from an antiquity site without a licence from the relevant authority.
Imprisonment for a period no longer than two years and a fine no less than Dh50,000 and no more than Dh200,000 or one of these two punishments with the possibility of confiscating seized objects is the punishment for anyone who commits the act of finding an antique without registering it during the period specified in Article 11 of this law, disposing of an antiques without a licence or authorisation from the relevant authority, presenting false data or information or incorrect documents to register or licencing or placing the antique in advertisements, posters, writings or painting them.
By Sheena Amos