Category Archives: Legal Stuff

Stab victim receives six months in prison

Does this not raise the question of mercy?

By Awad Mustafa of The National

DUBAI // A man who was stabbed repeatedly, robbed and left for dead was yesterday sentenced at the Dubai Criminal Courts to six months in prison.

LY, 35, from China, was jailed after providing police investigating his case with a labour card that did not belong to him.

He pleaded guilty to using an official document with intent to deceive the police, as well as the illegal possession of that document. He had been working illegally in the UAE, according to court documents.

On December 26 last year, a police report was filed saying LY had been found lying in a pool of blood after being robbed outside a building in International City. The assailants were not identified and LY was taken to Rashid Hospital for emergency treatment.

A police officer told prosecutors LY informed him through an interpreter that he had been attacked by two men who had gagged him and stabbed him in the stomach and left thigh a number of times.

LY said the men then stole his bag containing an undisclosed sum of money and ran off.

The officer said that when asked for identification, LY produced a labour card with someone else’s photo. When questioned about the discrepancy, he claimed he had been given the card, which was found to belong to someone else, to present to police if he was ever stopped.

LY will be deported after serving his sentence.

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Bouncing Cheques

As my cheque bounced, so did my heart

Rym Ghazal

Last Updated: September 16. 2009 7:47PM UAE / September 16. 2009 3:47PM GMT

From The National

Earlier this week, I got “that” phone call. It is now one of the most dreaded messages anyone can receive: “Ma’am, your cheque has bounced.”

I actually heard my heart give a loud thud. With all the horror stories about people being dragged to jail for a single bounced cheque, I really can’t explain my feelings after my landlord’s office called me.

“What? It couldn’t be, I have sufficient funds in my account,” I heard myself explaining in one breath, already on the defensive.

Not listening to me, the accountant told me to show up at the office “immediately” with next month’s rent “in cash” or the landlord would escalate the matter with the “proper authorities”.

There was no room for negotiation, for excuses or anything else. The accusatory tone was unmistakable and, with it, I could feel the humiliation and stress building.

There are plenty of stories about the cutthroat actions of lenders since the economic crisis.

“If you have the money, good, if not, goodbye,” is pretty much the way of the world these days. Perhaps it has always been like that but people used to give you more breathing space because their own finances were better off.

I headed straight to my bank to find out what had happened with my postdated cheque after a quick online perusal of my account revealed that, indeed, the cheque went through, the money was debited and then redeposited after the cheque was returned.

Unless it has happened to you personally, I don’t think anyone realises how quickly the service at a bank changes and their attitude becomes more passively hostile at the mention of a “bounced cheque”. It was a true eye-opener for me.

After a long wait, I went to the designated counter with a heavy feeling in my chest. I explained to the customer service officer my problem, and how the cheque bounced even though I had sufficient funds.

“You sure you had enough money?” he asked me. I said yes, and told him to open the account and look for himself.

After a few minutes of browsing my account, his stern features actually broke into a smile.

“Oh, it was bounced based on incompatible signatures. OK then, no problem,” he said beaming.

And just like that, I was out of the red and a “valued customer” at the bank after almost losing the privilege. What a change of manner and service that piece of information caused.

It seems if you are in a jam and short of some funds, you will be treated like a criminal. I know I felt like one until the banking officer smiled. Actually it turned out that my signature was fine, but because bank tellers make the judgment, sometimes “mistakes are made” I was told.

But what a costly mistake this was, in terms of nerves and reputation – for everybody involved. “Everyone now hates the banks,” the now-friendly customer service representative confided to me.

I was not impressed with the change of attitude, and told him so. He simply laughed it off and said: “A bounced cheque is a very black spot on your financial record these days.” I guess I should consider myself lucky that the experience will not stain my so-called record, even though I did nothing wrong.

I did receive a much friendlier reception at my landlord’s office. “Oh, just a signature problem? No problem, no problem,” said the head accountant at the office. He even said I could bring in cash at “my own convenience” after initially having told me to bring in the full amount immediately.

Honestly, the whole experience left me shaken. It is not enough that you feel horrible and ashamed like you did something wrong, but the added social stigma of being looked down upon and treated like a criminal makes an already uncomfortable situation even worse.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for people who are supporting a family to lose a job and sink into debt. The creditors are merciless, and no one is your friend in financial “services” when you are down on your luck.
As an act of charity, people are actually paying off others’ debts to keep them out of jail. It is uncommon, of course, but what a great way to help people out.

In the end, everything worked out well, but now I am going to be extra vigilant with my financial transactions, so that there is no risk of anything – a cheque or my peace of mind – “bouncing” again.

The Golden Rule

Number One golden rule in the UAE:

Do not fuck with the locals!

It seems an Iraqi woman forgot this recently when she decided to get into an Emirati’s car and move it from where it was blocking her own car.

Note: Leaving cars unlocked – and sometimes running –  in the UAE is not uncommon. Vehicle theft is extremely rare and gas is cheap!

Why would you risk deportation in order to get out of a car park? What was she thinking?

I will be watching the newspaper to see if the outcome of this trial is published.

Dentist accused of driving woman’s car in parking lot

From Gulf News

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10346573.html

By Bassam Za’za’, Senior Reporter
Published: September 05, 2009, 22:57

Dubai: A dentist has admitted that she drove another woman’s vehicle that blocked her way in a parking lot.

The 35-year-old Iraqi pleaded guilty before the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour on the charge of driving the 30-year-old Emirati woman’s vehicle.

The dentist also denied the charge of assaulting the 30-year-old and strongly denied what she described as the Emirati’s baseless allegations that she pushed her twice.

Defending the dentist, lawyer Uday Al Qazwini said: “The incident happened in a mall’s one-direction driveway& the Emirati parked her car in a provocative manner and she intended to block my client’s way and prevent her from driving through.

“She fabricated the assault charge against the defendant, who didn’t even touch her during the incident. During questioning, the Emirati gave an inconsistent statement.”

The Public Prosecution charged the Iraqi with pushing the Emirati twice and driving the latter’s vehicle without her permission.

Al Qazwini said his client is innocent and didn’t have any criminal intention when she drove the woman’s car, “but she did so because the Emirati had intentionally blocked her way”.

“The court should acquit my client according to article 64 of the Federal Penal Code which stipulates that a suspect who is coerced or provoked, physically or emotionally, to commit an offence should not be held liable & In our case, the dentist is the real victim because the Emirati refused to move away her own vehicle, hence she blocked the way and prevented the dentist from driving her car through.”

The Emirati testified: “She beeped her horn repeatedly and flashed her lights for me to unblock the way& I signalled for her to wait until I park. She pushed me before she drove my car. I alerted the police.”

The dentist stated: “She didn’t give me any attention and persistently and provocatively left her car blocking the way that I had to drive her car out of my way& I didn’t touch her and she’s the one who pushed me out of her car.”

A verdict will be heard next week.

Sexual Harrassment – East versus West

I was recently approached and leered at in a rather unpleasant manner by a creepy guy in a construction worker’s outfit (blue jumpsuit).

This happened while I was walking from my apartment building to the local supermarket in The Greens, which is a very Western-style community where people regularly walk around wearing a LOT less than I was at the time.

It is also private property  which is owned and controlled by Emaar, whose head office is within the community.  The surrounding gardens and pathways are patrolled heavily by security, as well as the always polite gardeners and cleaners that are employed here.

It made me uncomfortable enough to go home and change out of outfit I was wearing (navy knee-length dress and red shoes) and lodge a complaint with the Greens’ Security Office.  The security team was excellent; very kind and reassuring; and immediately went in search of the perp, which they found quickly.

The next day I was flipping through a magazine (Desert Fish) and found the very interesting Dubai Code of Conduct.

Desert Fish Magazine (for more about this great mag go to http://www.desertfishmag.com/template/about.html)

Desert Fish Magazine (for more about this great mag go to http://www.desertfishmag.com/template/about.html)

I was encouraged by the Security team to bring in the police, which I didn’t want to do.  Now I realise that my very Western belief in giving someone a warning, and not charging them,  is what saved this guy from almost certain deportation (see 1.4 Public Displays of Affection).

It was a very interesting cultural experience to see how these things are treated in the East, where the good of the community is seen as paramount to the rights of the individual.  But as a Westerner I just couldn’t get past my ethical imprinting that having a guy lose his job (and possibly his family’s livelihood?) was too high a price for any individual to pay for this.

I always thought of myself as a committed feminist.

But today, as I went outside feeling a little fearful of strangers, I have to ask myself, do I hold a set of ethics that enables sexual harrassment of women, in an effort to protect the rights of the men that do this?

This is a question that I never anticipated having to ask myself.

Dubai Code of Conduct

1. Social Ethics:

Dubai is characterised by the interaction of a large number of cultures and nationalities. However, the culture, customs and traditions of the United Arab Emirates and its people shall be respected by adopting courtesy and moderation and avoiding all types of improper behaviour in the Emirate.

1.1. The symbols of the state:

It is the duty of every citizen, resident and visitor to show respect for the symbols of the United Arab Emirates’ rulers, flag and national emblem. The abuse of any of those symbols is a crime punishable by law.

1,2. Decency:

An official business or business casual dress code shall be adopted by all visitors of Dubai’s official government buildings as well as business buildings and office towers. Access to Dubai’s official and business buildings may be denied if dress code is considered inappropriate.
In all other public places such as streets, shopping malls and restaurants, shorts and skirts shall be of appropriate length. Moreover, clothing shall not indecently expose parts of the body, be transparent, or display obscene or offensive pictures and slogans.

1.3. Beaches:

Beachgoers — men and women — shall wear conservative swimwear that is acceptable to Dubai’s culture. Swimwear shall not be worn outside the beach, as decent dress is the rule in the rest of the city. Nudity is strictly forbidden in every part of the city and is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.

1.4. Public displays of affection:

Displays of affection among couples — whether married or not — in public places does not fit the local customs and culture. Holding hands for a married couple is tolerated but kissing and petting are considered an offence to public decency.
Public displays of affection, as well as sexual harassment or randomly addressing women in public places is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.

1.5. Dancing and music:

Loud music and dancing are forbidden in public places like parks, beaches or residential areas and must be restricted to licensed venues only.

1.6. Public facilities:

Public facilities (i.e. public parks, benches, bus stops, etc.) shall be kept in good conditions. Concerned authorities must be informed of any damages.

2. Substance abuse:

The consumption of alcohol as well as any other drug or psychotropic substance is strictly prohibited in Islam and is punishable by law. Due to the large diversity of cultures and nationalities present in Dubai, alcohol consumption is closely regulated.

2.1. Drugs:

Holding, consuming, buying or selling any kind of drug — in any quantity — as well as being tested positive to any drug by the authorities in the UAE is considered a crime.

2.2. Alcohol consumption:

Alcohol consumption shall be confined to designated areas (i.e. licensed restaurants and venues that serve alcohol to their clients). Being caught under the effect of alcohol outside these places (even in light doses) can lead to a fine or incarceration.

2.3. Driving and alcohol:

The UAE has adopted a zero-tolerance policy in terms of driving under the effect of alcohol. Being caught driving with even the smallest dose of alcohol can lead to a fine, incarceration or deportation.

2.4. Purchasing alcohol:

Buying and selling alcohol is controlled by very strict laws. Alcohol is exclusively sold by specialised licensed stores. It can only be bought by holders of an alcohol-purchasing license (this license is only attainable by non-Muslims). Buyers shall respect the local culture by carrying their alcohol in paper bags such that it cannot be seen.

2.5. Smoking:

Smoking is not allowed in government facilities, offices, malls and shops. Smoking outside designated areas is subject to fine.

2.6. Prescriptions for some medicines:

Some medicines containing psychotropic substances are forbidden in the UAE. Their holders must carry a prescription from a UAE-licensed medical doctor. Visitors shall verify that their medicines are allowed in the UAE before entering the country.

Visitors

I was thinking it would be great if my Gran could come and spend a few months with us in Dubai but unfortunately the tourist visa only lasts for 30 days.  14.5 hours seems like an awfully long flight for 30 days.

Bummer.

Public Holidays and the Islamic Calendar

Islamic Calendar (Source: University of Cambridge)

Islamic Calendar (Source: University of Cambridge)

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar which has 12 lunar months in a year of about 354 days.

Because this lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, Islamic holy days (public holidays), although celebrated on fixed dates in their own calendar, actually shift 11 days earlier each successive solar year.

It also means that the exact date of a public holiday cannot be determined until approximately a week before the event.

Generally, this means that planning to take a long weekend away is not an opton, although some people try to do this anyway. Take a look at what happens when they announce the date of the public holiday, and then change it at the last minute. I always find the Comments underneath the articles interesting. Parfticulary as the media here is very ‘conservative’ in expressing its views of government activities.

Holiday change angers workers

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Government/10291292.html

By Wafa Issa Staff Reporter
Published: March 03, 2009, 23:06

Dubai: Residents working in the private sector feel that the shift of the holiday marking the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birthday from Monday to Saturday is “discriminatory” as it strips them of a holiday that those in the public sector will enjoy.

Malcolm Kemp, a manager at an Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications company who has his weekends on Fridays and Saturdays, said: “Again, the poor private sector is stitched up regarding the forthcoming public holiday. The decision discriminates between the public and private sector. The Ministry of Labour is sadly out of touch if it assumes that most people in the private sector only have Friday off.”

While the public sector will celebrate the holiday on Sunday, the ministry had announced that, for the private sector, the holiday would fall on Monday. But a circular issued by Minister of Labour Saqr Gobash on Sunday shifted the holiday to Saturday.

Some in the private sector have a one-day weekend, which falls on Friday, while others have a two-day weekend that includes Saturday. Those who have a two-day weekend would therefore miss out on the holiday if it falls on a Saturday.

Gobash had earlier told Gulf News that the change had been made for practical reasons.

“We did not want to cause an interruption between the public and private sectors, so we decided to change the holiday by connecting the weekend with the holiday,” Gobash said.

Asked why the holiday was moved to a Saturday rather than a Sunday, given that many companies in the private sector have their weekends on Friday and Saturday, Gobash said: “As far as I know, the majority of companies in the private sector have only one day off, which is Friday. (Sophie: This is news to me! Everyone I know has Friday and Saturday off for the week-end.) Having the holiday on Sunday would have caused another interruption…” Gobash said.

Ganesh Prabu, a manager at a service company who also has two-day weekends, said the ruling “is a glaring example of discrimination between the public and private sector employees. It is unfair just to give the public sector a connected holiday, while we in the private sector get deprived of the holiday”.

However, Mohammad Omar, a sales engineer at a contracting company who only has Friday off, said: “I am happy that I will have Saturday off this week because I am always missing out on my friends’ gatherings as they all have two-day weekends”.

Khuram Anees, an employee of a consultancy firm, said that the holiday should be held on its official date regardless of what day of the week it is out of respect for religious occasions.

However, Dr Omar Al Khateeb, Assistant Director-General for Islamic Affairs in Dubai, told Gulf News that according to Islamic tradition it is not compulsory to have a holiday on the date marking the Prophet’s birth. What is important is that it is a collective celebration of the Prophet’s birth and a manifestation of love and respect for the Prophet.

“Although it does not really matter if the holiday is given a day or two in advance or after the actual occasion, it is still preferred [that it be held] on the same date of the Prophet’s birth as the feeling would be much stronger,” said Al Khateeb.

Your comments

Being a Muslim i wana say that its an Islamic holiday its should be on that date because those Muslim who wants have to pray
Beenish
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 15:08

Private sector holiday on Saturday is not justified as the occassion of birth of Prophet falls two days after.
Ala’a
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 15:00

I believe holiday should be observed on the actual day. How can one alter such a thing?
Azmat
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:45

It’s not a question of holiday but to perform the precious ocassion on the correct day. Milad is on Sunday not Saturday.
Mustafa Motiwala
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:45

I think it’s a bad idea by changing the date, because it causes confusion. The date should be decided first before declaring it.
Nasco
Sharjah,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:40

It felt nice when i heard the holiday news on Sunday. We would have three days Holiday. I was planning to visit my country and meet my family. But i think we should take care of those private sector people who have only Friday off. So good luck to you guys…..Happy Weekend….:)
Asif M. Qasim Bughio Ali
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:30

I am happy for the 2-day rest. i only have friday as off-day to do all chores, thus, i really appreciate this saturday off. we cannot please everybody but i think the authority has just addressed what is good for the majority.
Thessa
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:15

Well, I am a working mother, my son’s nursery is off on sunday and i have to work, i dnt have anyone to take care of my child!!! and this is always the case, The purpose of a holiday is to celebrate the occasion and by this it lost its meaning
Rawan
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:15

Work on Saturday, Jobless…etc all this is fine and understood!!! However, we were told earlier that the holiday was on Sunday and planned accordingly to travel, visits..etc. Its not fair to take that away. I think that once a holiday is announced then it should be carried as stated without change.
Errol
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:06

Honestly, I am not at all in favour of moving the holiday from its original date i.e. Monday to Saturday. It makes no sense to celebrate any Islamic occasion before the original day.
From A Reader
Sharjah,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:52

I couldn’t agree more! You can’t have a day off for one sector and not the other.
From A Reader
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:51

It surely became an unfair practice between public and private sector. Both sectors? employees are working. We rarely get holidays, and we are not even getting those. People are staying with infants, who are in day care all day. We were thinking we would be getting an off, but even that isn?t there now!
Binsi Thomas
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:45

Actual birth date of Prophets Mohammad?s (PBUH) birthday is on 12th of Rabi Al Awal h. corresponding to 9th March. The holiday should be on the same day otherwise there should not be a holiday at all.
Mohammad Miyan
Sharjah,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:44

Holiday should be given on the day of the occasion not before or after, if the holiday is on Saturday, people who already have a holiday are unhappy, and if the holiday is on Sunday everyone is happy.
Emran
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:44

It is a good decision. Most of the private companies only have Fridays off, so let them celebrate the Saturday off.
Prema Rajendran
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:41

Holiday should be on the actual date for both Public and Private sector to preserve the original spirit and historic value of the occasion.
Syed Mazhar
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:40

It seems that Saturday given as a private holiday is really good because as I know, a majority of the private sector companies have only Friday off, so it would be good for them to have Saturday off as well. Those who have Saturday as there week off, please excuse us because we also want to celebrate with our family a 2 day weekend.
Joe
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:32

I think the change of date for the holiday in celebration for the birthday of Prophet Mohammad is not reasonable unless it can interfere with more important celebration or occasion. I think we should celebrate on his exact birthday date as a sign of RESPECT.
From A Reader
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:26

The holiday should be held on the day it should be (The prophet’s birthday). How can they change such a thing. It’s totally bizarre and discriminating to me!
Milad
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:24

Nonsense! I am currently working as a Design Engineer, for the Dubai Metro Line. Those from the private sector working in the construction industry usually rest on Fridays. A lot of times, we even work on Fridays. Now look, who is out of touch? Don’t be a frog in a well.
Bryant
Singapore,Singapore
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:22

It is unfortunate as many countries bank on the commercial aspect of public holidays to boost spending with in the economy. I would think that the global crisis would lead authorities in the UAE to decide otherwise.
Umica D
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:21

I only have Fridays off and I’m glad to be getting an extra day off this month. And I have to agree with the authorities in saying that most private sectors do have only Friday as an off.
Emma
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 12:54

You can’t expect the government to please everyone. If you keep Sunday as a holiday, those who work on Saturday will have an interruption in their work week. If you keep Saturday off, those who already have a Fri/Sat weekend will complain. With a majority of the working population having only 1 day weekends, let them enjoy Saturday off. Those of us with 2 day weekends shouldn’t complain!
Anthony
Dubai,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 12:51

East, West or Workaround?

2008 Men's Finalists (Image Source: www.dubaidutyfree.com)

2008 Men's Finalists (Image Source: http://www.dubaidutyfree.com)

There has been some controversy this week regarding Dubai’s refusal to grant a visitors visa to Israeli tennis player, Shahar Peer so she can compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships.

It is my undestanding that visit visas are not grated to anyone with an Israeli stamp on their passports, or indeed a passport from Israel itself. Israeli sports people have got around this restriction in the past by travelling to Dubai on second passports.  It is not known on which passport Shahar made her application for a visa.

Shahar competed in Qatar last year. You could argue that Qatar is Dubai’s rival for the sporting and business hub of the Middle East.

Apparently last year Dubai prevented an Israeli player from competing in the men’s doubles and the WTA  protested and gave Dubai a warning that it had 12 months to rectify the siutation, meaning Dubai could not restrict players that had earned the right to compete in the 2009 tournament.

Now this.

If Dubai maintains its current stance, it runs the risk of being struck off the international tennis circut by the WTA.

However, if it capitulates and allows visitors on Israeli passports then it appears to have sold out to the West in the eyes of many Arabs.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Dubai is being forced to make a choice.