Dubai prosecutor says divorcing parents are using children against one another

Mothers or fathers who lie to win custody of offspring could be fined or jailed

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Chief prosecutor Mohammed Rustom, Head of Juveniles and Family Prosecution at Dubai Court.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Salam Al Amir Story
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The chief prosecutor in Dubai has warned divorcing parents against using their children to give false information in court to harm their partner.

Mohammed Ali Rustom, Dubai's advocate general and head of the emirate’s family and juvenile prosecution, said parents could be jailed or fined if they coerce their children into lying before prosecutors.

In many cases parents have tried to turn their children against their spouse, he said.

“In one case, a child was dictated by one of his parents to give us false information about the other,” Mr Rustom told The National.

"The child opened up to our social workers and told them the truth. He was taken to the special meeting room that is dedicated to interacting with children, where he could talk without any pressure. Without this, it would have been very difficult to know the truth.

“In another case, the children were manipulated by their older siblings to provide inaccurate information that would subsequently frame the father.”

Mr Rustom said using a child as a weapon in a marital dispute was wrong and could harm the child in immense ways.

Prosecutors in Dubai are helped by Community Development Authority officials who visit the homes of children to verify information given in divorce and custody cases. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“We want to protect children from all forms of abuse and parents who do this can face charges,” he said.

“By doing so, parents corrupt the child’s character and reality because as role models they teach them it's acceptable to lie and get what they want by using any means.”

Prosecutors in such cases can seek the help of the Community Development Authority, which sends inspectors to the homes of children to verify the information given.

Hasan Elhais, from Al Rowaad Advocates, said some people want to permanently exclude the other parent from their children's life.

“Parents who lie to win children’s custody should remember it could backfire if the court finds out the truth,” he said.

Articles 324 and 325 of the UAE Penal Code specifically refer to false reports being made to administrative and judicial authorities.

Article 324 states that anyone who reports falsehoods could be fined and/or sent to prison for a period not exceeding six months, Mr Elhais said.

“Article 325 says whoever falsely and in bad faith informs authorities that a person has committed a crime or fabricates evidence to frame a person, can be sent to prison for one month to three years,” he added.

Mr Elhais said parents who had been falsely accused could file a civil case against their partner.

He said: “After they have secured a verdict in their favour from the criminal court in the false report case, they can file a civil case and seek compensation for moral damages."

Updated: November 23, 2022, 3:46 AM