New UAE law: Drug convict gets his deportation order cancelled

The accused has been residing in the country for over 30 years and had no criminal record



by

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Tue 8 Feb 2022, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Feb 2022, 10:48 PM

An Asian man convicted of use and possession of drugs last year has got his deportation order cancelled under the new drug law.

The Dubai Court of First Instance had ordered a Dh5,000 fine and deportation for the 38-year-old Indian on March 3, 2021, after he was caught with two types of narcotics.

However, the court cancelled the deportation order on February 7, 2022, after the defence, on behalf of the defendant, submitted a plea to revise the verdict based on Article 75 of the new anti-narcotics law that removes the previous mandatory deportation of expats convicted of personal drug use and possession.

Through the plea, Emirati lawyer Mohammad Al Redha also cited Article 14 of the new Federal Penal Code no. 31 of 2021 that stipulates that if a new law eases a certain penalty, it is permissible for the court that issued the final judgement to reconsider the verdict in light of the provisions of the new law at the request of the Public Prosecution or the convict.

Al Redha also informed the court that since the convict has no criminal record, the new law is more valid in his situation.

“The accused has been residing in the UAE for over 30 years with a legitimate source of income. He also helps manage his father’s business. Deporting him splits the entire family, who has been based here for the last 30 years and lost touch with their homeland,” argued Al Redha.

He added, “With no criminal record, there is no reason to believe that my client will violate the law again.”

In its verdict, the court said, “The convict was sentenced to a Dh5,000 fine and deportation based on the Federal Law no. 14 of 1995 on combatting narcotics and psychotropic substances. Therefore, the anti-narcotics law no. 30 of 2021 is more valid for the accused.”

The court noted that the new verdict was issued based on submitted documents that proved the convict’s residency and business and the fact that he has no criminal record.

The man was arrested on November 30, 2020, after police officers searched his home in Downtown Dubai and found two types of narcotics. His urine test came back positive for consumption of drugs.

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Al Redha said this case opens the door for former drug users to appeal again under the new law.

“Most drug convicts are young people whose families have been based in the UAE for a long time, with no relatives or friends back in their home country. Separating them from their families through deportation exposes them to even bigger risks than drugs.”

How former convicts can submit pleas

Former drug abuse convicts can submit a plea to the public prosecution, with all the supporting legal documents and reasons why deportation should be cancelled.

The public prosecution then reviews the documents and, if all the required legal documents are provided, transfers the plea to the court that had issued the final judgement.

After reviewing the documents and the circumstances that support the defendant’s request to cancel deportation, the court will decide to apply the law that is more suitable in their case.

The new drug law, effective from January 2, 2022, brings major amendments, including optional deportation of expat drug convicts and rehabilitation of first-time drug users.

However, it brings harsher penalties to repeat offenders.

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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