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UAE judges now have 19 options for community service sentences
Date: 10-12-2017

Sentencing judges have a choice from 19 different types of community service including helping others to memorise the holy Quran and carrying out work at petrol stations, according to a decree providing further detail on last year's move to allow alternative punishments to prison terms for petty crimes. The decree of the Council of Ministers No 41 of 2017 on the identification of community service work issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, lists 19 categories of community service.

They will replace jail sentences but only those that do not exceed six months in length. In March, three men, who fed a cat to hungry dogs and filmed the killing on video, were ordered by the Ruler of Dubai to clean Dubai Zoo for the three months and in February a group of men arrested for reckless driving in City Walk have been ordered by the Ruler of Dubai to clean the city’s streets for four hours each day for a month.
According to legal Consultant Hassan Elhais, of Al Rowad Advocates, community service was decided and approved in article 120 from the 2016 federal law No 7, but the nature of the community service works were not stated. The article also states that the work should be paid: “A convict can be obligated to do a community service punishment, the nature of the community service is to be determined through a decree issued by the minister of justice in coordination with the minister of Interior and the minister of labour and Social affairs provided that the convict receives quarter of the wage.
This obligation shall only be imposed in cases of misdemeanours to replace imprisonment or fine and the period of this
obligation should not be less than ten days and not more than one year.”
Elhais said that “this means that even though you are being punished, you are paid and most importantly, you are given the chance to repay your debt to society and to learn firsthand what it means to be a productive member of the community.” He added that the move invests in youth’s true qualities and potential instead of leaving them to
jail where they can meet criminals dong hard-time and be at risk of becoming one themselves.


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