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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Dubai security chief wants harsher drugs sentencing

Laws should deter drugs smugglers, sellers and users, says deputy head of police and public security

Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai. Satish Kumar for The National
Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai. Satish Kumar for The National

The deputy chief of police and public security in Dubai has called for tougher anti-drugs laws – two years after the minimum jail sentence for possession was halved.

Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, also the chairman of the UAE's Anti-Narcotics Council, said laws must deter smugglers, sellers and users.

Speaking at a meeting of the council, he said that some laws should be made more strict, Wam reported.

Members discussed clauses of a draft law on combating the use of drugs and psychotropic substances and possible amendments to laws already in force.

In 2016, changes were made to drugs laws that significantly relaxed punishments for users – although not for smugglers and suppliers.

They included reducing the minimum jail sentence from four years to two. The use of illegal drugs was also downgraded to a misdemeanour and options other than jail, such as a maximum Dh10,000 fine, a stay in a rehabilitation centre or community service were introduced for first-time offenders.

Rehab options were strengthened, and the Attorney General was given the power to send an offender for treatment without the case going to court, after advice from police and prosecutors.

Courts were given the option of adding a minimum fine of Dh10,000 to sentences for serial offenders. The minimum period spent in rehabilitation centres was also reduced to two years from three, among other changes.

The move followed a rise in the consumption of drugs, from 721 cases between October 2015 and September 2016 to 925 cases between October 2016 and September 2017.

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