The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has relaxed certain laws criminalising alcohol consumption and fornication.
In the UAE, residents require a liquor licence to purchase, transport or have alcohol in their homes.
But with the development, penalties for alcohol consumption, sales and possession for those above 21 years have been scrapped; thereby allowing Muslims who have been barred from obtaining licences to drink alcoholic beverages freely.
According to Associated Press, the country has also permitted “cohabitation of unmarried couples”, often categorised as fornication, which had been a crime in the UAE.
The legal reforms come as the UAE prepares to host the high-stakes World Expo.
The event, which was postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic, seeks to bring several commercial activities and some 25 million visitors to the country.
The development is also coming after a historic US-brokered deal to normalise relations between the UAE and Israel.