Home » Travel » Abu Dhabi to set up tourist court to boost reputation

Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Arab state is to set up a special court to deal with offences committed by tourists as part of its efforts to promote itself as a holiday destination.

The government says the court will work ‘in close co-operation with authorities concerned to ensure the best services as per international standards’.

However, it has not given any further details about the role the court will play.

Yousef Saeed Al Abri, under-secretary of the Judicial Department, told local news organisation WAM that the new court would contribute to Abu Dhabi’s reputation in the tourism sector.

Whilst it said it would prefer to see a reform of the United Arab Emirates’ legal system as a whole, campaign group Detained in Dubai said the news of a tourist court was ‘an encouraging and hopeful sign’.

“If indeed the UAE can expedite its court proceedings and the return of even some tourists’ passports, this is a step towards improvement,” it said.

“As it stands, tourists who are accused of minor offences can be detained (either in detention or on bail) in the UAE for sometimes six months or more. During proceedings, they are not allowed to work and there are no effective charities providing accommodation or support. They will also have to instruct their own expensive lawyers and many people just can’t afford to do this.”

Cases that could be referred to a tourist court, said Detained in Dubai, include accusations of rude or insulting behavior, accusations of road rage, swearing, public drunkenness, inappropriate clothing, photographing prohibited sites or members of the public, kissing in public or holding hands.

At the moment, such offences can lead to the accused being detained for six months or more before being deported, it said.

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