Manama: The jail sentences of 11 women in Bahrain have been commuted to community service and participation in a rehabilitation programme, Attorney-General Ali Al Buainain said.
The women were found guilty by a court of law, but with the Alternative Punishment Law being ratified in Bahrain last year, the judges commuted their sentences.
The law was first applied in October when a septuagenarian had his two-month jail sentence commuted to house arrest.
The defendant was found guilty of claiming he was working in a lawyer’s bureau and took 2,200 Bahraini dinars from an individual as fees for legal services.
A court of first instance sentenced the elderly man to two months, but his lawyer requested the sentence be commuted to community service, given his advanced age.
The judge accepted the plea and initially ordered that the defendant work as a gardener at a ministry for two months, but later changed it to house arrest after the lawyer argued that his client was suffering from poor health.
Law 18 of 2017 on penalties and alternatives procedures was reviewed by the cabinet in April and ratified in July.
The law stipulates that the alternative penalty should be freedom-depriving, but paves the way for the reintegration of the offender into society.
However, the law applies only when the jail sentence is less than one year and the alternative penalty is approved by the public prosecutor.
Alternative penalties include community service, residence in a specific place, banning access to a specific place or places, electronic observation and training programmes.
The government said the major aims of the alternative punishment include helping families and reducing overcrowding in jails.