Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Justice in the UAE

We only get a few reports about the criminal justice system here, since the papers are not allowed to report anything about crime except what is handed to them in the official police reports. If there is a clear pattern in what the police choose to report, it has escaped me.

Todays Gulf News reported that one man got seven years for pre-meditated murder, to be followed by deportation. Another four men who stabbed and severely injured a c0-worker received suspended sentences. Finally, a man who got into a fight with his employer and killed him was ordered to be executed (but his case is being appealed).

The year before I arrived here, back in 1999, there was at least one public execution, and the government was demanding extradition of a British man who had fled back to Britain from Dubai, saying he had been sentenced to death (in absentia) for drug offenses. Britain declined to extradite.

Since my arrival, if there have been any executions, they have been private and unreported. There may have been none, or many.

The current sentiment is that the published sentences of two years for gang rapes (of Europeans), seven years for premeditated murder, and no sentence at all for beating and stabbing are much too lenient. But we don't know what the unpublished sentences might have been.

Dubai wants to be the new Disneyland, and Disneyland is supposed to be free of crime (and punishment), so that's what we read in the local papers: break the law, you'll just be deported and permanently banned from returning to paradise.

Two acquaintences who received tours of the men's and women's gaols both report that the gaols were full. Apparently with all those people awaiting deportation.

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