x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Suicide attempts in UAE spark debate

The way forward: Dubai Courts Attempted suicide cases spark debate over whether to punish

A number of cases of attempted suicide were highlighted and debated in the media in 2012, putting the spotlight on the UAE's legal and judicial system.

According to the UAE Penal Code article 335, a person who attempts to end his or her life should be punished by a prison term that does not exceed six months or a fine that does not exceed Dh5,000 - or both.

The law also states that a person who encourages or helps another to commit suicide should be charged with premeditated murder if the person dies.

But almost all of the attempted suicide cases from the Misdemeanours Court last year involved unfortunate individuals such as maids and labourers who had not received their wages for months at a time.

This fact raised many questions regarding whether such people should be offered help rather than punishment.

Many judges are lenient, tending to demand the lowest possible fine of Dh1,000 from those found guilty.

But the matter warrants further thought - and hopefully that rethink will take place this year.

salamir@thenational.ae