[QODLink]
Middle East
Calls for Dubai banking reforms
Advocates call for legal reforms of UAE banking system that jails people for bounced cheques.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2010 10:44 GMT

The family of a British property developer jailed in the United Arab Emirates is requesting that he be pardoned in conjunction with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Safi Qurashi was sentenced to seven years in a Dubai prison for bouncing three cheques, an act considered a criminal offence. Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan reports from Dubai on a case that has advocates calling for legal reform.

Convictions for writing bad cheques can carry stiff sentences, and they have landed dozens of Dubai residents in jail. The emirate has actually established a special court to handle these cases, and the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported that it hears hundreds of cases each week.

The sums involved are often quite steep: A British man was jailed last year for bouncing a cheque worth Dh180,000 ($49,000), and an Emirati man faces jail time this month for a bad cheque worth Dh6.7 million ($1.8 million).

Activists say the law should be changed to replace jail time with a fine, except in cases of serious or repeat offenders. But judicial officials in the UAE insist on taking a hard line. The minister of justice set up a committee last year to study the law, but so far it has recommended few changes.

"A criminal judge is not concerned about what circumstances the cheque was issued under," Judge Ahmed Saif, the chief justice of the Dubai criminal courts, told The National.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.