x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Death-row smuggler appeals to Abu Dhabi court

An elderly man who swallowed 93 heroin capsules before entering the UAE tells the court he's not a dealer.

ABU DHABI // A man sentenced to death for smuggling heroin denied being a drug dealer at the Appeals Court yesterday.

JA, 62, a cleaner from Pakistan, brought 93 heroin capsules into the country by swallowing them.

He claimed he was merely delivering the pills as an unpaid favour. He said a friend in his home country asked him to take them to a man in the UAE named Jalal.

"I just thought they were some type of psychotropic pills," he told the court.

His lawyer said he could not be guilty of dealing drugs because he had no connection to the supplier or customers - he was merely delivering the pills out of "courtesy" to his friend.

"He is old and will receive no revenue from either side," said the lawyer. He added that suppliers in Pakistan often took advantage of impoverished and foolish people.

A verdict is due on January 3.

hdajani@thenational.ae