x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Briton on death row was big-time drug dealer, Abu Dhabi court told

A police captain in charge of investigating the case of the British drug dealer sentenced to death testified before the Appeals Court yesterday.

ABU DHABI // A Briton sentenced to death for selling drugs was a big-time dealer who did not have direct contact with buyers, the Appeals Court heard yesterday.

A police captain in charge of investigating the Briton NL, 21, said he tried through two undercover sources to reach the Briton directly, but could not do so.

He said the defendant would liaise with only a small pool of lesser dealers, among them the Syrian MB, 19, who has also been sentenced to death.

The captain told the judge, Dr Khairi Al Kabbash, that this was why the police investigation centred on the Syrian, even though he was merely an agent for the "big dealer".

He said the Briton operated this way because he had been investigated in a previous drug case. He was cleared on that occasion but had become more cautious.

The captain said police monitored the Syrian's telephone calls and that he always referred to the defendant as his supplier. When arrested he identified the Briton to officers.

"At the station he told us 'I will cooperate with you, I'm at fault and I will even call him if you want'," the captain said.

But the Syrian denied this, saying he was tortured "from 10pm until 3am" until he agreed to call the Briton and lure him into a police ambush.

The captain said the Syrian accompanied officers to the ambush, but the Syrian denied this, saying he called the Briton from the police station and took no further part in the operation.

He also denied selling a piece of hashish to the police captain for Dh500 less than a week before he was arrested.

Dr Al Kabbash asked the captain why the Syrian was not arrested when he sold the hashish.

The captain replied that he needed to take the piece to the forensics laboratory for confirmation that it was the drug. The captain added that he was surprised the Briton and Syrian were at such an advanced level of drug dealing despite their young ages.

He said this meant he needed further confirmation of their activities.

One defence lawyer complained that case files lacked a record of the results of the laboratory test.

When the Briton was arrested police found a black bag in his car, which contained pieces of hashish and opium. They also found drug paraphernalia at his home.

The Briton denied dealing, saying the equipment was for his use. The Syrian also claimed to only use hashish.

Dr Al Kabbash asked the captain if his sources were paid and asked what happened if their information was wrong.

The captain said sources were paid for specific information. When they stopped giving information they were no longer paid.

He said their tips were double-checked and any source found to provide wrong information would no longer be used.

He said that on the day of the arrest his sources met the Syrian and a Sudanese man at the park. The Syrian then left to get the drugs.

"He just walked around, spoke on the phone at times. He did not meet anyone. It was obvious that he already had the piece on him, then he came back and handed it over."

While the captain was talking, one of the Syrian's defence lawyers, Fayza Moussa, objected that he was reading from the case files. The point was noted by the court.

Another lawyer for the Syrian, Ahmad Al Othaly, asked the captain if he and his colleagues received financial rewards based on arrests.

The captain said he did not because he has a salary, but he could receive extra holiday time or a scholarship from his manager.

The case was adjourned until December 23.

hdajani@thenational.ae