Friday, 4 July 2008

The fickle finger

From the 'Gulf News' of 4th July 08

Judges debate deportation order for indecent gesture in public
By Bassam Za'za', Senior Reporter

Dubai: Flash your middle finger in the face of someone in public and get deported.

Deportation has become compulsory against those who are found guilty of flashing their middle finger in public, warned a chief prosecutor yesterday.

"Expatriates should start having better control over their behaviour in public because, according to the Federal Penal Law, deportation has become obligatory against those who are incriminated of committing an indecent gesture or behaving obscenely in public such as flashing their middle finger, kissing, cuddling or hugging etc.

"Emiratis who commit the same crime face imprisonment, fine or both," the chief prosecutor, who requested anonymity, told Gulf News yesterday afternoon.

Appeals judge Mahmoud Fahmi considers the punishment as stricter than a life sentence and called on lawmakers and legislators to reconsider the compulsory deportation order.

Tight rein

"The recent amendment in the Federal Penal Law is strict. The compulsory deportation order has honestly kept a tight rein on us especially when we prosecute someone who committed an indecent gesture in public such as flashed a finger or had consensual sex ... the suspects who commit such an offence or crime aren't a threat to the society or as dangerous as rapists or molesters who deserve a deportation order," judge Fahmi told Gulf News.


He called on the lawmakers to return to the earlier practice by which judges were given the discretion to issue a deportation order when prosecuting such suspects.

Advocate Khalifa Al Salman, who was a former judge at Dubai courts, told Gulf News: "I am strongly against the compulsory deportation order because it is very stiff against someone who commits an indecent gesture or behaves obscenely in public. Lawmakers have stipulated punishments to deter suspects from repeating a crime or misdemeanour.

"Meanwhile, an obligatory deportation order is inconsistent with such a crime. A deportation order is meant to expel a suspect from a society when he/she becomes more harmful than beneficial to that society."

Al Salman called on lawmakers to stipulate laws that entitle judges to jail or fine a suspect who commits such a crime and grant them the discretion to issue deportation orders against expatriates or not.


A 37-year-old Pakistani worker faces a deportation order in case Dubai Court of First Instance incriminates him flashing his middle finger to a 19-year-old jobless Emirati who has also been charged with flashing his finger to the worker.

"I am guilty for flashing my finger in his face... but I reacted to his and his compatriot's behaviour."

The Public Prosecution charged the worker, J.A., with indecently gesturing in public. The jobless Emirati, S.R., was likely charged with flashing his finger in J.A.'s face.

J.A. and his compatriot, M.A., were charged with leaving the worker with five per cent permanent disability after assaulting him. M.A. was additionally charged with endangering the lives of J.A. and his 35-year-old compatriot driver, M.I., when he surprisingly pulled his breaks and swerved his vehicle against their car.

Violating privacy
Article 121 of the amended Federal Penal Law No. 3, 1987, says it's up to a judge's discretion to order the deportation of any expatriate who is jailed for a crime or misdemeanour.

A deportation order becomes compulsory when a suspect commits a crime against someone's privacy, honour or dignity. According to the same Article, a court can instantly deport a suspect in a misdemeanour crime instead of a jail sentence.

The fifth section of the same Law concerning crimes against honour and dignity, Article 358, stipulates that a suspect who commits an indecent gesture in public faces a minimum of six months in jail, and any suspect who breaches the privacy, honour or dignity of a minor under the age of 15, in public or in private, faces minimum one year in jail.

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