No more flogging for petty crimes

ABU DHABI — The Ministerial Committee for Legislations has quashed the sentence of flogging for simple misdemeanours in order to block issuing of judgments generating other multiple problems.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Tue 13 Jun 2006, 10:25 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:21 PM

Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Al Kamali, Director General of the Judicial Institute, said the committee, by abrogating the reprimanding penality for offence cases, has brought back the Federal Penal Code to its previous status.

According to Dr Al Kamali, the amendment to the law has added new punishments — imprisonment, fine and flogging — to cases dealing with misdemeanours. “After months of enforcement of the amendment, a series of problems have cropped up, whereby some judges handed down flogging judgments for simple offences, instead of imprisonment or fine,” he explained.

In consideration of such concerns, the said punishment was made null and void on Sunday during the meeting of the committee presided over by Justice Minister Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhahiri. “The move reflected the UAE lawmaker’s keenness to replace the jail term with flogging in the cases where juveniles were involved in order to spare them the detention. The lawmakers believe that a number of lashes to discipline the juvenile is more than enough, rather than putting him behind bars with bad companions,” he added.

The enforcement of flogging, he noted, had become a popular sentence with judges who applied it even on traffic and juvenile cases. “This has raised a lot of problems which spurred the committee to quash the sentence,” he opined. Dr Al Kamali drew a distinction between misdemeanours and reprimanding punishment, saying that a misdemeanour is a crime entailing a sentence of jail term for one month to three years and a fine between Dh100 to Dh30,000 as per the penal code.

The new amendments, he went on to say, had come to add the flogging, but the committee has repealed the flogging to maintain the sentence of the misdemeanour to imprisonment or fine. As for the reprimanding punishment, it is three years in jail and a fine of up to Dh100,000 unless the law calls for more. “This crime is still punishable by flogging unless the judge sees legal excuses to rule out flogging,” he concluded.

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