x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Drug charges blamed on tainted sweets

Iraqi man tells the court he was only in the UAE because sectarian violence made it impossible for him to return home.

ABU DHABI // An Iraqi man charged with taking drugs and staying in the country illegally said he was in the UAE because he received death threats from a sectarian group in Baghdad, a court heard today. 

The man, FA, further told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance that he did not realise he had consumed drugs – he had simply eaten Moroccan sweets given to him by a fellow gym-goer, he said. He was arrested at Khalifa Hospital after suffering a painful stomach ache. 

He told the court he was not aware the sweets contained hashish. 

"It was delicious and I asked her if it was a halwa with date and she told me: 'No, it is a Moroccan halwa'," FA told the court today. He said he did not know Moroccans made sweets with drugs. 

He pleaded guilty to staying in the country illegally but he said he was obliged to for fear of death. 

"I have stayed illegally because of the sectarian situation, I received death threats in Baghdad before I left," FA said.

hhassan@thenational.ae