x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bail denied for three Britons on drug charges in Dubai

Three British men found in possession of Spice, a banned synthetic cannabis drug, have been denied bail.

DUBAI // Dubai police have denied they mistreated three British tourists who have been held in custody for seven months on charges of possessing the banned synthetic cannabis product, Spice.

Reprieve, a London-based legal charity that campaigns for prisoner rights, claimed that the men had been mistreated.

However, Dubai police say they appointed an independent investigator to look into the claim and found it to be false.

And a lawyer for one of the Britons, S?K, said his client had made no mention of mistreatment at the hands of the police.

"He said no such thing to me," said Emirati lawyer Yousif Al Hammadi.

K?A and G?M, both 25, were arrested in Dubai Marina following a tip off in July last year.

Dubai Police anti-narcotics department say they found 1,060g of Spice in a BMW being used by the men. They said the quantity of Spice found suggested the two intended to sell the drug.

Standing nearby at the time of the raid was their 24-year-old compatriot S?K. Tests revealed all three had consumed Spice.

In court today the three men were denied bail and the next hearing will be held on March 14, when defence lawyers plan to cross-examine the arresting officers.

They have all denied the charges, saying the drugs belonged to someone else and that they had consumed Spice before entering the UAE.

The men have been in touch with the British Embassy, according to a spokesman, who said they had been providing them with consular assistance since July 2012.

The embassy also said it had been in touch with Reprieve.

"The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all matters of mistreatment very seriously and are discussing it with the relevant authorities," said the spokesman.

salamir@thenational.ae

* With additional inputs from Awad Mustafa and Reuters