Manama: Some 451 people convicted on different charges in Bahrain have served penalties other than jailing under a law issued in 2017, Minister of the Interior Lieutenant General Rashed Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa has said.

The Alternative Penalties and Procedures Law, which went into force in May last year, authorises courts in the kingdom to issue other penalties replacing imprisonment. The alternatives include doing community service, attending rehabilitation courses and paying to repair the damage caused by unlawful acts.

Since its enforcement, 388 men, 52 women and 11 minors, convicted in different cases, have qualified for the law, Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej reported Monday, quoting the minister as saying at a parliamentary meeting.

“In view of directives from His Majesty the King about applying this law, other convicts can benefit from it,” the official told the Council of Representatives.

“Applying this law helps in maintaining societal and family stability as well as reforming the offender by encouraging him/her to abandon unlawful acts and avoid repeating them in the future. At the same time, it preserves society’s right to punishment and rehabilitates the convict to restore his/ her social standing.”

Earlier this month, Bahraini King Hamad bin Eisa Al Khalifa directed “effective application” of the law on alternative penalties, a move hailed as further boosting human rights in the country.