A man was arrested in the United Arab Emirates after he attempted to kill himself by climbing over a barrier at one of the country’s many shopping malls. Police in the touristy emirate of Dubai arrested the man, whose name and details have not been published, after he instantly began clambering over a glass barrier on the first floor. The incident is believed to be a suicide attempt, although Dubai police said that the man was doing it for attention.
On their official Twitter account, Dubai Police tweeted that the man had tried to seek attention of nearby shoppers. He was then immediately arrested.
The incident occurred at the Dubai Mall this past Friday, but was reported in the UAE English-language broadsheet Khaleej Times today after information was released by the Dubai police.
Under Emirati law, suicide and attempts to kill oneself are considered a crime and arrested individuals are brought before a Court of Misdemeanours. Would-be suicides can be fined up to a maximum of UAE Dh. 5,000 (GBP £871) and potentially receive a six month prison sentence. The vast majority of victims however are usually only fined by judges. Even doctors who treat victims of suicides must inform the authorities regardless of patient confidentiality rules. Failure to do so could see them accused of aiding a suicide which is also a crime under the controversial Article 335 of the UAE Federal Penal Law. United Arab Emirates civic law largely draws its inspiration from Shar’iah religious commandments, which prohibits suicide as a form of murder.
There are few figures available on suicide rates in Dubai, but at least a few hundred have been reported per year among the emirate’s expatriate non-Arab population. Many of Dubai’s foreign-born residents are exploited by callous employers who withhold their wages and cram them into tiny roomshares in the city’s numerous construction sites. According to a study published by the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 6.3 expatriates per 100,000 of the population end their lives compared with 0.7 UAE citizens. Suicide rates for men are three times higher than for women, and most suicide victims are from India.
In April this year, a man attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge that forms part of Dubai’s main thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road. The victim, described as an ‘Asian working with a governmental organisation’ survived. Dubai police attributed his survival to ‘divine intervention’.
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