x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Drug suspect: I was trying to recover

A man charged with drug abuse told a court he was arrested while awaiting a spot in a rehabilitation centre.

ABU DHABI // A man charged with drug abuse told a court he was arrested while awaiting a spot in a rehabilitation centre. MM, an Emirati who lives in Al Ain, was arrested by Abu Dhabi anti-narcotics police and appeared before the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance this week charged with taking drugs. Another Emirati, FH, was charged with the same offence.

MM, who pleaded not guilty, said traces of drugs found in his bloodstream came from use before he went to a hospital in Al Ain to be treated for heroin addiction. He said he left the hospital on July 7 when officials told him he needed to wait "three to four days" until they found him a bed in a rehab centre in Abu Dhabi. Police "caught me after I left the hospital", MM told the court. "I have not completed my treatment at the hospital and if there was any trace in my blood of drugs, then it is old."

He said when police arrested him, they did not find any drugs. Police arrested FH first, questioned him and then arrested MM, the court heard. FH testified that police "coerced" him into confessing against MM by promising to take him to a rehabilitation centre instead of jail. MM asked the court to summon the forensic expert at the hospital and to examine his file there. The case continues. hhassan@thenational.ae