Abu Dhabi // A member of the US military has been charged with bringing ammunition into the country without a licence.
Prosecutors told the State Security Court on Monday that HPH, who works at Al Dhafra Air Base outside Abu Dhabi, had already passed through a US airport with the handgun cartridge when he entered Abu Dhabi International Airport.
HPH, whose rank or role with the military was not made clear, was arrested about three months ago.
HPH's lawyer said that his client had been on holiday in the US when he was called back to the UAE. HPH, who pleaded guilty, said he did not realise the ammunition was in his suitcase. The lawyer said his client was licensed to carry weapons in his home country, was "harmless" and had no criminal intent. The ammunition was found in his checked suitcase.
"He had a military suitcase and he took out the weapon he had inside the suitcase but forgot to take out the cartridge," the lawyer said.
"When he realised the ammunition was there, he tried to correct his mistake and take it back to his country, believing he was doing the right thing," he added. Chief Justice Shehab al Hammadi asked HPH whether he was legally staying in the country. He replied that he had a residence visa that expired after a year.
The lawyer asked the court to acquit HPH, saying his client would be punished by the US government anyway and asked for leniency if the court found him guilty.
The judge asked HPH whether he wanted to add anything, to which he replied: "I apologise. I had no bad intentions. I made a mistake and I tried to correct my mistake." Al Dhafra Air Basehosts US, French and UAE armed forces. The verdict is expected on October 25.