One of the UAE's top judges has warned that the full force of the law will continue to be brought against offenders in domestic violence cases, following a Federal Supreme Court ruling in a domestic violence case earlier this week.
Humaid al Muhairi, the Director of Judicial Inspection Department at the Ministry of Justice, told Emirates news agency WAM that domestic violence was of great concern to the Government and was not widespread within the UAE.
Mr al Muhairi said violence "within the framework of a family is always a regrettable event" and that the "full force of the law will continue to be brought against those who may exercise chastisement of any kind, verbal or otherwise, beyond acceptable bounds".
The federal court ruling involved an appeal by a man who had slapped and kicked his adult daughter, and slapped his wife. While the court upheld an earlier guilty verdict from the Sharjah Court of First Instance, the judge also acknowledged a controversial interpretation of Shariah law regarding a husband's right to discipline his wife and children by mandating that he may not leave a mark.
"It is worth noting, however, that in the case of the recent ruling by the UAE Supreme Court on the case in which a husband was accused of engaging in such practices, the husband was convicted of an excessive degree of chastisement of his wife," said Mr al Muhairi.
"The ruling further stated that the father's chastisement of his adult daughter was a breach of Sharia law. This is in line with judgments in many previous cases where persons have been convicted of the use of an unacceptable degree of violence within the context of their families."
Mr al Muhairi said while there was no evidence that violence within families was widespread in the United Arab Emirates, "the issue remains one of concern to Government".
''Our courts adhere to strict policy not to tolerate any degree of family violence whether verbal or physical."