Panel studies best ways to enforce penalty

ABU DHABI — The committee entrusted with studying alternative punishment for misdemeanour and offences is touring a number of countries with the aim of identifying the best ways to enforce punishments keeping in mind the UAE society, the local environment and the social values prevailing in the country.

By Hassan Raafat (Abu Dhabi Bureau Chief)

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Published: Sun 18 May 2008, 9:03 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:09 PM

Led by Lieutenant-Colonel Saif Obaid Al Khaili from the General Department for Police Operations in Abu Dhabi Police, the team recently visited the Netherlands’ Justice Centre for the Implementation of Alternative Punishments in the Ministry of Justice.

The team also visited HALT Centre for Rehabilitation of Offenders and Implementation of Community Service, where they were greeted by Mike Jansen from the Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands.

During the UAE team’s visit to HALT Centre, Hansen van Piscom briefed the delegation on the procedures of implementing the alternative penalties.

He said the centre received those who have committed minor offences and misdemeanour and who are referred directly to the centre by police stations without referring them to the judicial authorities.

The community punishments varied from fines and training and rehabilitation courses to cleaning public places.

In some cases, the parents of the offender take part in the dedicated courses in case one of them (the parents) had caused the delinquency or the deviation in their child, or they were not taking proper care of their children, Hansen said. He described the work system of the centre as expeditious in carrying out the measures of implementing the penalty imposed on the offenders, thus alleviating the burden and pressure on the courts.

“It also provides the offenders an opportunity to reform themselves and not to discontinue their work or study, and make them live in a suitably social environment while undergoing correction process,” Van Piscom said.

He said the alternative penalty on the convicted offender is imposed during the official holidays instead of the working days.

After wrapping up their tour of the Netherlands, the UAE team will proceed to the United States.

“The issue is not new as there were calls demanding examining the feasibility of implementing the law governing the alternative punishment against those convicted of minor offences with no criminal intention, and for which the convict would spend time serving the society,” Lt-Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said.

The system of alternative punishment had existed during the early Islamic rule, and was imposed on prisoners of war, wherein if a prisoner taught illiterate Muslim children how to read and write, he would be set free, he said.

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