UAE: How former drug convicts can cancel deportation order

They must hire a lawyer in the country to file the plea to the public prosecution on their behalf


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Tue 15 Mar 2022, 3:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Mar 2022, 3:03 PM

UAE residents who have been deported after being convicted of personal drug use and possession can now submit a plea to the public prosecution under the new anti-narcotics law to return to the country.

The new law cancels the previous mandatory deportation of drug offenders, giving the court an increased jurisdiction to refer first-time drug offenders to rehabilitation instead of a prison term.

Dr Hasan Elhais from Al Rowaad Advocates said former drug convicts who have been deported before the new law came into force can challenge their deportation order.

“While the new legal provisions apply to those convicted under the new law, there is no article that prevents former convicts from appealing against the deportation order for their case to be reviewed again under the new law,” added Elhais.

Former convicts must hire a lawyer in the UAE to file the plea to the public prosecution on their behalf.

After reviewing the plea, the public prosecution refers the request to the court that had issued the final verdict.

Emirati lawyer Mohammad Al Redha, who has won several appeals to cancel deportation orders of ex-convicts, said documents submitted to the public prosecution must present strong justification of why the deportation must be cancelled, and why applying the new law would better fit their case.

“The defence, on behalf of the applicant, must convince the prosecution of why cancelling the deportation would be better and more suitable for the convict,” said Al Redha.

A plea would be stronger if the convict has no criminal record. “First-time drug offenders with no criminal record are more likely to have their pleas approved than those with multiple offences,” said Al Redha.

The UAE’s new penal code, Al Redha noted, gives the court the authority to re-consider its final verdict under a new law if it eases a certain penalty. This needs to be done at the request of the public prosecution or the convict.

The new law gives hope for families to reunite. Al Redha added, “we see many cases of young people who were surrounded by a bad circle of friends and got tempted to consume narcotics. They are not criminals by nature.”

“Having them separated from their families, especially if they have been based in the UAE for a long time, does them more harm.”

The new drug law treats first-time offenders as patients who need treatment to be re-integrated within the society and gives ex-convicts another chance to improve their own lives, noted Al Redha.


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