Tag Archives: Legal

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.

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.