x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Convicted human traffickers appeal sentence

Two people sentenced to five years over trafficking, confining and assaulting a Russian woman should be freed because they were arrested on an invalid warrant, says lawyer.

DUBAI // Two people sentenced to five years for human trafficking should be freed because they were arrested on an invalid warrant, their lawyer argued in court yesterday.

The Indian man MB, 34, and the Russian woman IE, 32, were convicted in April of trafficking, confining and assaulting a Russian woman.

Their lawyer, Saeed Al Ghailani, told the Dubai Court of Appeals that the warrant for MB was issued last August 29 at 9.05pm and was valid, under UAE law, for 48 hours.

However, he said, MB was arrested on September 1 at 12.15pm.

"The warrant, your honour, was issued based on false information and no due process," Mr Al Ghailani told the court.

He said his clients were accused of human trafficking after the alleged victim perjured herself.

"The victim said that she had been beaten, illegally confined and forced into prostitution by the two, however, she has never met MB or engaged with him," he said. "She claimed that she had her head slammed against the wall by IE repeatedly when she refused to submit to sex, but no forensic records have confirmed that."

Mr Al Ghailani added that after the Court of First Instance issued its judgment, the woman petitioned the court to be repatriated and was allowed to leave.

"After she left, her guilt caught up with her, your honour, and she dropped the complaint against my clients with a notarised document from her country," he said.

The court is to issue a judgment on July 27.

amustafa@thenational.ae