Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Drug possession woman 'was prescribed medication in home country after seeing brother die'

Lebanese woman tells Dubai court that she had no idea her prescription drug was banned in the UAE, and that she has been taking it since she witnessed her brother's death.

A 23-year-old visitor to the UAE charged with drug possession has told judges that she was prescribed the medication in her home country for depression after witnessing her brother die.

The Lebanese woman was arrested at Dubai International Airport on July 2. At Dubai Criminal Court on Sunday, she sobbed as she said to presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi: “I swear, your honour, I am taking these tablets as medication after my brother died in front of my eyes in a traffic accident a few months back.

"Since he died I have been in depression and I was prescribed this medication. It's fine in Lebanon and I had no idea it's banned in the UAE. Nobody told me, not even at the airport when I was leaving my country.”

The judge asked if she could have a member of her family collect her prescription from the case file and have it attested by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support her case.

“Yes, your honour, but I beg you, can you let me be with my family this Eid? It's the first Eid since my brother died and won't be with us, and if I'm still here I won't be with them too - both of us not with the family this Eid - I beg you let me be with my family on Eid,” she said.

Prosecutors allege that she had 2,744 tablets of a medicine called Lyrica, which is banned according to federal law 14 amended in law 1, 2005. Lyrica is used to treat epilepsy and generalised anxiety disorder.

The woman has been in custody sincer her arrest but she was granted bail by the court this Sunday.

The next hearing is on September 10.

Updated: August 20, 2017 03:50 PM