Electronic Surveillance as an Alternative Form of Preventive Detention in the UAE Legislation: An Analytical Study
Prof. Abdul elah Al Nawayseh
Professor of Criminal Law – College of Law – University of Sharjah – UAE
Dr. Mahmoud Fayadh
Associate Professor of Civil Law – College of Law – University of Sharjah – UAE
Dr. Shadi Shdaifat
Associate Professor of Public International Law – College of Law – University of Sharjah – UAE
This paper deals with the electronic surveillance as an alternative form of preventive detention in the UAE legislation. According to Federal Decree Law No. 17 of 2018 as amended by the Federal Criminal Procedures Law No. 35 of 1992, it has become possible to place the accused under electronic surveillance instead of being held in preventive detention. However, the electronic surveillance is a relatively new tool in the field of criminal justice. This is a pioneering step from the Emirati legislator to avoid the defects of preventive detention, since the Emirati legislation is one of the few legislations that authorized the status of electronic surveillance as an alternative form to preventive detention.
The scientific objective of the paper is to analyze and evaluate an approach towards electronic surveillance in the UAE as an alternative form of preventive detention based on the technological developments to reduce the defects resulting from the pretrial detention of the accused and avoiding the shortcomings of penalties depriving them of liberty for a short period of time. It became possible to place the accused under electronic surveillance instead of being held in custody, and to place the convicted person under electronic surveillance instead of carrying out the punishment in the penal facility if the sentenced punishment is imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
This law is considered a pioneering step in avoiding the defects of pretrial detention and penalties that deprive the accused of liberty for a short period of time. We have discussed and analyzed the texts related to electronic surveillance as an alternative form of pretrial detention in the UAE legislation. The results of such analysis are as follows: The UAE legislation is one of the few legislations that authorized the status of electronic surveillance as an alternative to pretrial detention, as the Emirati legislator excluded crimes punishable by death and life imprisonment, crimes against state security and crimes in which judicial removal is mandatory from the application of electronic surveillance on those accused of committing such crimes. Several specifications in the electronic surveillance method lead to avoiding criticism and problems that result from the use of electronic means in surveillance. The UAE legislator has not set a maximum period of placing the accused in electronic surveillance. The UAE legislator has also stipulated the confidentiality of data and information related to electronic surveillance, and the period of electronic surveillance shall be deducted from the term of punishment imposed on the accused.
Keywords: electronic surveillance, pretrial detention, the accused, surveillance devices, judicial justice.