x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Court postpones heroin verdict again

Fifteen men facing the death penalty in country's biggest narcotics case will learn their fate tomorrow.

SHARJAH // Fifteen men facing the death penalty in the country's biggest narcotics case will learn their fate tomorrow after the Sharjah Criminal Court postponed delivering its verdict for the fifth time yesterday. The postponement was announced by Ismael Abu Ezza, the Sharjah attorney general and one of the five-member bench hearing the case, who said the court had not yet prepared its ruling.

Reda al Ramady, the defence lawyer for the 15 accused, described the number of postponements as unusual. His clients, who were present in court under the guard of 10 armed police officers, were arrested and charged following the seizure last August of 202kg of heroin valued at Dh40 million (US$11m) - the biggest drug haul in the Arab world. The identities of the 15 men were made public for the first time yesterday. According to the list released by Mr Abu Ezza, 14 of them are Afghan and one is from Pakistan. They are: Daoud Khan Mohammad, 43; Mujib Rahman Mohammad, 40; Israr Haq Hajj, 37; Hajj Muharrab Hassan, 39; Muhssir Jann Amin Jann, 46; Abdul Qadir Abdul Hafidh, 25; Zamir Iqbal Gul, 25; Hajj Shahzad Gul Rahim, 47; Nour Ahmad Mohammad, 45; Qadim Iqbal Gul, 21; Bahdran Khan Mohammad, 28; Azzatllah Hajj Gul, 25; Ahmad Faisal Mohammad, 35, Gul Zad Killab, 35; and Haroun Khan Mohammad, 24, from Pakistan.

Mr Abu Ezza was directly involved in the investigation of the case by the Sharjah Public Prosecution and undersigned the report referring the case to Sharjah courts, in which he proposed the death penalty as punishment. "In all circumstances it is a big case, one that is internationally condemned and has been monitored by the international press," he said in October last year. "It is only credible that we recommend a punishment that would be credible to our country and the international community."

In another narcotics case, the court yesterday sentenced two Nigerians, identified as Shundi Gonna and Ojjo Shaw, to 10 years in prison followed by deportation, as well as a fine of Dh50,000 each, after finding them guilty of dealing in drugs. When one of the accused exclaimed that the sentence was too harsh, Mr Abu Ezza advised him to appeal. ykakande@thenational.ae