PG announces policy for not prosecuting first time offenders

Prosecutor General (PG) Muhthaz Muhsin has announced a new policy for not prosecuting first time offenders for petty crimes under a “second chance programme.”

At a press conference yesterday, Muhsin explained that a special committee would consider eligibility of persons arrested by the police for various offences and sign an agreement with the offender.

As the purpose of the programme is to allow first time offenders to seek employment – which is made difficult due to a requirement for a police report – Muhsin said criminal records would be cleared once the agreement is signed.

The criteria for eligibility meanwhile includes taking into consideration the seriousness of the crime, the circumstances under which it was committed, physical or psychological harm caused, the rights of injured parties, and the penalty prescribed by law.

Persons who commit crimes for which a punishment is prescribed in Islamic Shariah would not be eligible, he noted.

In his address to the nation on Independence Day (July 26), President Abdulla Yameen revealed that criminal records have been cleared for 3,588 youth since he took office in November.

Home Minister Umar Naseer had told parliament earlier that month that criminal records of more than 2,000 youth have been cleared or expunged since the current administration took office in November.