The Public Prosecution, ordinarily, has a discretionary power to
issue the pretrial imprisonment order unless there is a special
case described in different regulations and provisions.
After questioning the accused, the Public Prosecution member may
issue a pretrial imprisonment order, if he or she is of the opinion
that the evidence is satisfactory and the deed is a felony or crime
that is punished and penalized by other than a fine.
Such pretrial imprisonment orders shall include the name of the
accused, his or her title, nationality, occupation, residence,
charges and allegations, date of the order, location and time of
appearance or attendance, name and signature of the public
prosecution member, and it has to be stamped by the official
One of the most common and collective questions which we receive
is "Does the Public Prosecution have the right to put the
prisoners in separate cells so as to prevent any contact between
the detainees and other individuals?"
The answer to that is, even though it is very unlikely to take
place and personally I did not experience or see this in any of the
cases undertaken by us but Article No.109 of Federal Law No. (35)
Of 1992 gives the Public Prosecution the right to preclude such
interaction between a detainee and other individuals but without
prejudice to any right of the accused to meet and interact with his
Amongst many other questions that we receive about the
detention, most are concerned with the time period of the pretrial
imprisonment or for how long it shall be effective.
Our observation leads us to respond that the pretrial
imprisonment could continue to be effective for as long as the
investigation is ongoing. However, the law that contributes to the
security of the detainee, ensures that each judicial authority has
a perimeter to their power to issue the pretrial imprisonment
For instance, the first pretrial imprisonment order issued by
the Public Prosecution shall not be more than seven days, which
could be extended for an additional two weeks. If the two weeks
expire and the Public Prosecution believes that it is in the best
interest of justice and the investigation to prolong the detention
period, they might lengthen it for a further period. Henceforth,
the matter has to be referred to one of the criminal court judges,
who shall review the file and request for the attendance of the
accused. The judge would then listen to the argument put forward by
the accused and acquire his statement. Subsequently, the judge
would then make a decision on the extension of the detention, for a
period not exceeding 30 days renewable, or to release him on
The judge could also decide to release him temporary until the
investigation is over and this is one of the most confusing and
perplexing points for non-legal individuals. The reason being,
while the accused is under detention, they often find themselves
being transferred with no pre-notice, to the judge where they are
questioned about their cases. That is why taking legal assistance
at the earliest is advised. However, the judge during the stage of
the investigation process is not the authorized to decide whether
to accept or dismiss the charges.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to mention here that be Public
Prosecution has the right to close the case and dismiss the charges
during the criminal investigation phase, where they discover and
conclude that the evidence is not sufficient or there has been no
occurrence of law breaking.
So, in other words, during the investigation stage, only be
Public Prosecution has the power to make such decisions but not the
However, if the case has been transferred to the criminal court,
the Public Prosecution will have no power to dismiss the case
anymore and the entire discretionary power would then be
transferred to the criminal court judge.
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