More rigorous punishment to be meted for major crimes

ABU DHABI — The country's penal code is likely to be amended soon, with more rigorous penalties for major crimes in store.

By Adel Arafah And Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Tue 4 Oct 2005, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 PM

A draft amended law, endorsed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislations at a meeting on Sunday, will be discussed by the cabinet soon, according to Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Auqaf, Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri.

Chaired by Al Dhaheri, the meeting was attended by Shaikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Minister of the Supreme Council and GCC Affairs, Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammed Khalfan bin Kharbash, Minister of State for Finance and Industry, Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Saeed Al Ghaith, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and other members of the committee.

Amendment to the Federal Law No 3 of 1987 on penalties was endorsed earlier this year by the Federal National Council (FNC).

The amendments included 33 articles, some of which stipulated more rigorous penalties, while others moderated punishments stipulated under the current law. Three additional articles have been incorporated in the law.

Under the new law, the punishment for homicide is life imprisonment in accordance with Article 332, but the punishment can be upgraded to a death sentence if the crime was premeditated, connected to another crime, committed against a public official while discharging his/her duty, or one in which a poisonous substance is used.

The perpetrator will get a jail term of not less than one year even if the guardians of the victim agree to pardon. Article 85 stipulates that a suspension or revocation of an execution order can also be nullified by the court if the accused commits a premeditated crime and receives a jail sentence of more than two months, or a sentence by flogging. The execution order can also be nullified at the request of the prosecutor if the accused had earlier received a sentence, about which the court issuing the suspension of execution order was unaware.

In Article 147, the law states that unless clearly stated, the court can pardon an accused if the misdemeanour is tantamount to a scuffle during which the parties involved exchanged assaults and sustained minor injuries, or when the complainant offers a pardon. The article makes it clear that the judge cannot grant a pardon in instances or crimes involving slander and alcohol consumption.

According to Article 211, any person engaged in forging the signature or the official stamp of the Head of the State, the Rulers, their deputies or any other official, would be penalised through temporary imprisonment. This punishment covers instances where the forgery is done by the offender or by someone on his/her behalf. The forgery also covers official duty stamps, signatures of officials or trademarks. Those who bring forged items into the country will face similar penalties. While Article 211 orders temporary imprisonment for forgery of officials' stamps and signatures, Article 213 stipulates that whoever uses the official seals of the President of the State, the Rulers, their deputies and other seals of government departments, without any right to do so, will face imprisonment.

The crime covers use of official seals belonging to categories specified in Article 5. Offenders found guilty of impersonating public officials, falsifying identity, tampering with the public service, or performing an official duty without being authorised, will face a five-year imprisonment, according to Article 250.

Similarly, those found guilty of deliberately damaging a public communication system, electronic or otherwise, or any other public utility, will face a jail sentence of less than five years in accordance with Article 297.

The punishment can be less than five years if the crime is committed during wartime or during a serious feud, or committed with the use of explosives. Article 335 stipulates that anyone who prompts someone else to commit suicide, or assists him/her in any way to commit that crime, shall be imprisoned for a term not more than six months, and/or fined not more than Dh5, 000. If the one who attempts to commit suicide is below 18 year of age, or if he is not fully mature, the penalty will be more stringent.

The person who abets shall be charged with premeditated murder, if the victim lacked will power. A woman who carries out abortion in any way will be imprisoned for not more than one year, and/or fined not more than Dh10,000. Anyone who causes a woman to abort her child shall be imprisoned for a term not more than two years, or fined not less than Dh10,000. If she is helped to abort by a doctor, a surgeon, a pharmacist, a midwife, or a technician, he/she will be punished with not more than five years.

Anyone who intentionally causes abortion of a pregnant woman against her wish shall be imprisoned for a term not more than seven years. Anyone who breaches the private life of a person or a family, eaves-drops, or records by any system, any speech made in a private place, or delivered through phone, or any other system, or photographs by any system a person in a private place, shall be imprisoned for a term not more than one year, and/or a fine of Dh10, 000, according to Article 378.

The amended law stipulates that anyone who issues a dud cheque in bad faith shall be punished with imprisonment and fine. The same punishment applies to anyone who endorses, or issues a cheque to the bearer, knowing that he does not have balance to cover the cheque value. The lawsuit will be dropped if the cheque is covered before the court takes action. The amended Article No. 91 concerning punishment for criminals who commit a number of crimes stipulates that Ta'zeer (rebuke) slashes should not exceed 200. In another article, the legislation stipulates that if the original punishment for the crime is Ta'zeer slashes, the court can increase the maximum penalty or sentence the culprit to a jail term of a minimum of six months.

The amended Article No. 106 regarding repeat crimes reduced from five years to three the imprisonment term for anyone sentenced to a six-month jail term or more and commits a misdemeanour before completing three years after the end of the original punishment.

A prison punishment of a minimum of 10 years will be inflicted on the culprit if the crime was associated with or related to forgery crime, according to Article 224. Article 269 increased fine for delaying, in bad faith, execution of procedures regarding withholding of funds as per a court order.

An additional clause was added to Article 271 regarding burying of bodies illegally which specifies that anyone who buries the body of a person who dies naturally without obtaining permission from the authorities concerned will be sentenced to a maximum of three months in jail or fined.

The amended Article 302 reduces imprisonment from 10 years to five for anyone who destroys, damages, or demolishes fixed or mobile health units or equipment in them or deliberately breaks them down.

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