Community service for minor crimes planned

Offenders handed down sentence in misdemeanors cases and short-term imprisonment violations in the UAE shall be slapped with taking up community services.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 30 Mar 2013, 10:40 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:10 AM

Counselor Dr Jamal Al Sumaiti, Director of Dubai Judicial Institute, disclosed that ‘the alternative penalties’ draft law shall be ratified soon in the country.

Al Sumaiti added that a federal committee of advisers, experts and heads of public prosecutions, in addition to lawyers, reviewed the draft law and said that the new law may be applied by early next year at maximum.

However, members of the Federal National Council say it will be more expensive for the government to apply it. Another FNC member said the short-term imprisonment is of no use.

Dr Al Sumaiti said that the bill ought to be re-forwarded to the Cabinet and then be passed on to the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for approval.

He explained that the alternative penalty law cannot be applied on all convicts or drug addicts as they should be placed in a rehabilitation centre instead.

The committee tasked to study the alternative punishments reviewed the experience of other countries; most remarkably the Netherlands, to stand on the best way of applying what could suit the local society and its values.

Earlier, the Cabinet approved the federal law of alternative punishments which lists as many as 20 offences that would force those involved; be UAE citizens, expatriate residents or visitors, to be subject to community service and undergo rehabilitation and training courses ranging between 20 to 240 hours.

The UAE will be the first among Arab countries to adopt such a law, if the bill goes into effect.

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