What is Alternative Penalty Law the King Called for Implementing?
2019-05-07 - 9:03 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa directed the Government to reinforce its capabilities, for the effective implementation of the provisions of the penal code on alternative sentencing, Bahrain News Agency reported on Thursday (April 18, 2019).
Two days later the Minister of Interior Abdullah Al Khalifa said that the ministry is working on expanding the implementation of the law, especially electronic surveillance in cooperation with relevant parties. What do alternative penalties mean?
On July 17, 2017, King Hamad ratified the alternative penalty law which allows the public prosecution or the judge to replace the pre-trial detention with a commuted punishments.
Alternative penalties include: work in community service, house arrest in a specific place, prohibition of access to a particular place or places, commitment to non-exposure or contact with certain persons or entities, electronic surveillance, attending rehabilitation and training programs and repairing the damage caused by crime.
The law allows a judge to change the sentences that do not exceed one to five years in prison in case it was shown that the personal or health conditions of the suspect are not suitable according to reports he asks for or given. The judge then has the right to replace the house arrest in a specific place only or any other associated with other alternative penalty.
The law also authorizes the detainee or the prison administration to petition the judge to replace the punishment or the remainder of the sentence with an alternative penalty, and the law requires that the sentenced person must have served half of the sentence or sentences imposed on him. He should also have of good conduct, and that his release should not endanger public security. The sentenced should have fulfilled the financial obligations imposed on him by the Criminal court, unless it is impossible for him to do so.
The law provides for the punishment of a person sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding 200 dinars in case he didn't execute any of the alternative punishments, and the same penalty is imposed on anyone who helps someone to avoid carrying out an alternative punishment.
It is not known until today whether the implementation of the law will include those convicted in political cases. About 4,000 Bahrainis are serving prison sentences over charges of participating in anti-government protests.