Special Feature

5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Crimes in Oman

In the intricate and diverse fabric of Oman’s legal system, there are certain prohibitions that you might not immediately recognise as criminal offences. From the protection of animal welfare to regulations governing digital privacy, the laws of Oman cover a broad range of unique rules and prohibitions that underline the nation’s dedication to order, respect, and responsibility. This article aims to shed light on these often overlooked areas of Omani law. We delve into offences that, while less known, carry significant penalties, from hefty fines to potential jail time. Whether you’re a local or a foreigner residing or intending to visit the country, gaining an understanding of these legal complexities can help foster respect for Oman’s rich legal heritage and ensure a smoother stay within the nation’s borders. So, buckle up as we explore these intriguing facets of Omani law, unearthing the surprising responsibilities, prohibitions, and penalties that they carry.


In the Animal Welfare Law of Oman, article 2(d) expressly outlines the prohibition of abandoning an animal that relies on human care. This responsibility is not taken lightly and the law necessitates coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in any case of animal abandonment. Failure to adhere to this provision, as prescribed by article 13, can lead to penalties that include a term of imprisonment for a month or a fine of not less than 500 Rial Omani. This law underlines the extent of the obligations placed on pet owners in Oman.


Article 15 of the Law of the Flag, Emblem, and National Anthem of the State in Oman, imposes strict rules and penalties for any disrespectful actions towards the national flag. If one deliberately hoists a flag that is worn, torn, or in a condition inappropriate for the honour of its stature, or one that doesn’t comply with the stipulated specifications and measurements, they are considered in violation of this law. Furthermore, intentionally not lowering the flag to half-mast during official mourning also attracts penalties. Violators can expect a fine of no less than 200 Rial Omani and not exceeding 1,000 Rial Omani. Thus, the law stresses the importance of respecting and preserving the dignity of Oman’s national symbols.


According to article 57 of the Law of the Child in Oman, the law strictly forbids the act of granting a child a licence to drive any motor vehicle. Furthermore, the state emphasises the importance of this regulation by incorporating traffic awareness within the school curriculums and media outlets. In the event of a violation, the repercussions as outlined in article 73 include imprisonment for a period between 3 months to 1 year, and a fine ranging from 500 to 1,000 Rial Omani. If the offence is repeated, the penalties double and the court has the right to withdraw the parent’s driving licence and the vehicle’s operating licence for up to a year. The law thereby clearly emphasises the prohibition and associated penalties for underage driving in Oman.


Under Oman’s Cybercrime Law, article 16 emphasises the protection of an individual’s private or family life. It unequivocally prohibits the use of any information network or information technology means, such as mobile phones equipped with cameras, for the purpose of capturing images, spreading news, or distributing audio or video recordings that violate the sanctity of an individual’s privacy, whether or not the shared content is true. The law also covers acts of insult or defamation carried out through these mediums. Penalties for such violations are stringent, with imprisonment for a period no less than 1 year and not exceeding 3 years, and a fine no less than 1,000 Rial Omani and not exceeding 5,000 Rial Omani, or one of those two punishments. This provision showcases the seriousness with which Oman regards the protection of privacy and personal dignity.


Article 169 of Oman’s Penal Law outlines the severe repercussions for forging or replicating the state’s seal or mark, the Sultan’s seal or signature, or any marks of foreign states or administrative units of the state. This also extends to the seals or signatures of Omani officials or government hallmarks on precious metals. The law stipulates that anyone engaging in such activities, either personally or through another, is punishable by imprisonment for no less than 5 years and not exceeding 15 years. The same penalty applies to those knowingly manufacturing or obtaining forgery equipment, possessing or importing forged or replicated seals or marks, and those using these seals or marks without authorisation, whether they are genuine or forged. These provisions highlight the serious consequences of actions that undermine public confidence in Oman.


In this exploration of surprising laws in Oman, we’ve journeyed through rules that touch on many aspects of life, reflecting how Oman values care, respect, and good behaviour. From looking after pets properly and respecting the national flag, to the strict rules on underage driving, keeping private life private, and heavy punishments for faking the Sultan’s signature, these laws provide a glimpse into what’s important in Oman. As we wrap up, it’s clear that these laws, whether well-known or not, are a key part of life in Oman. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to this beautiful country, understanding these rules can help us better appreciate the unique culture and traditions that make Oman so special.

To stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations coming out, make sure that you subscribe to the free Decree Newsletter.