x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

American who said urine samples were 'mixed-up' jailed four years in Dubai

A 65-year-old American businessman has been sentenced to four years in prison despite a claim that his urine sample showing traces of opium was mixed up with someone else's.

DUBAI // An American businessman has been sentenced to four years in prison despite a claim he only tested positive for drugs because his urine sample was mixed up with someone else's.

A urine sample held by the prosecution showed traces of opium, but the 65-year-old defendant HA denied taking drugs when he appeared in Dubai Criminal Court in April.

His lawyer Abdul Hamid Al Kumaiti said his client's urine sample was numbered 43, but the one referred to by the prosecution was numbered 42.

"Police officers who worked on the case testified that no drugs were found on the defendant or in his residence," added the lawyer, who claims police did not follow correct procedures in arresting the American.

Police officer KM, 42, an Emirati, said the American was believed to be a regular drug taker and an arrest warrant was issued against him on January 22.

He was arrested that evening and, according to police, confessed to possessing and consuming drugs.

"He told me he took marijuana and opium while outside the country and the last time he did this was in Turkey," said the policeman.

The policeman's account was contradicted by Mr Al Kumaiti. "My client did not confess: he told the investigating prosecutors he did nothing wrong and didn't know why he was being held," said the defence lawyer.

The defendant will be deported after completing his prison term.

salamir@thenational.ae