A student from the Comoros Island has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing a teddy bear from a mall in Dubai and assaulting a man who attempted to stop the theft reported the Gulf News on Monday.
The 20-year-old reportedly stole a teddy bear from a booth near Al Ghurair city during the Dubai Shopping Festival and assaulted a Pakistani worker at the mall who tried to stop him from fleeing.
The student has been awarded the toughest punishment under the country’s Penal Code’s Article 385 which states the penalty of a temporary imprisonment of 3 to 15 years, in addition to a chance to be deported back to the country of origin.
The accused pleaded innocent before the Dubai court of First instance on Sunday, claiming that he found the teddy bear on the ground while walking to get to his car.
His lawyer argued that it made no sense for a person to steal an object worth 25 dirhams when he is able to afford a car.
The judge is expected to pass a verdict on April 24, according to the legal correspondent of Gulf News.
The sentencing is a reminder of how even an unwitting act can be perceived as a crime and land one in trouble.