In modern day societies, punishments that are specified by the respective penal codes of countries for offences are meant to be a deterrent in the first place and second when meted out to offenders, the sentences are not only a punishment but also as a path that is supposed to lead to the reformation of the offenders, such that when they re-enter the society after their sentences, they can contribute to the society and at the same time live in an respectful way and not be subject to social stigma or stereotypes.

Although, the crime rates in Qatar, according to Government authorities, are low compared to the rest of the region and stands at 5.0 per 100, 000 which is lower than the world average of 8.0. Furthermore, the national murder rate in Qatar is 0.5 per 100, 000 residents which is way lower than the global rate of 4 per the same number of people. The levels of violent crime are similarly low and the occurring of such crimes is very rare.

The Government keeps a close vigil on the crime statistics and accordingly adjusts its strategy to deal with the trends. Over the years Qatar has vastly enhanced its capacities to identify, deter and neutralize crimes by inculcating the latest technologies in its security apparatus, however, there is a long list of offences that are punishable by imprisonment in Qatar. Today, we bring you a concise list of such offences.

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Food code violations:

Selling food or storing food items in conditions that are not in line with the food code regulations of the country are imprisonable offences in Qatar under various articles of the penal code such as Article 24 which states:

Without prejudice to any harsher punishment as set out by another law, a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six months and not more than one year, or a fine of not less than seven thousand (7000) riyals and not more than fifteen thousand (15000) riyals, or both, shall be imposed on any person who knowingly engages in one or more acts of human food circulation for the purpose of exchange against consideration when it is rotten, damaged or otherwise unsuitable for human consumption.

The minimum and maximum limits of the punishments in paragraph 1 may be doubled upon a second commission of the offence, or if the food is found to be harmful to human health, or debased, or violates the specifications in a manner that is harmful to human health.

A penalty of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than four years or a fine of not less than fifteen thousand (15000) riyals and not more than thirty thousand (30000) riyals shall be imposed if the commission of the offence causes permanent disability to any person.

The minimum and maximum limits of the punishments in paragraph 3 may be compounded if the commission of the offence causes the death of any person. Unless the good faith of the defendant and the source of the food are proved, the defendant shall be presumed to have engaged knowingly in trading or peddling food banned from circulation.

Thefts, Embezzlements and forgeries:

Article 334 of the penal code defines a thief as: “Whoever, intending to take any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is deemed to be a thief”. And the punishments for theft are listed in Articles 336-348, ranging from a minimum imprisonment term of 1 year and a maximum imprisonment time of 15 years for offences ranging from forging of keys used in a crime to stealing from employers, embezzlement of public funds, stealing weapons from law enforcement and military, and highway robberies.