x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Three deny selling prostitutes to undercover Abu Dhabi police, court hears

Men accused of Prostitution ring offered to sell three women for Dh135,000 to undercover policemen say they were framed.

ABU DHABI // Four men convicted of selling three prostitutes to undercover policemen for Dh135,000 could not have done so because the women "are not that attractive", a defence lawyer claimed today.

The men were arrested in a sting operation shortly after one of them met the undercover officers in a hotel room and received the payment, heard the Appeals Court. Prosecutors say the men sold each woman for Dh45,000 each and intended to give each of the prostitutes Dh5,000 from the proceeds.

But yesterday the lawyer for EF, the man accused of meeting the officers, said that he appeared to have been framed.

"Seems like CID tricked the men into the deal by tempting them with a lot of cash," said Fayza Moussa, adding: "Why would anyone pay Dh45,000 for each of these women, they are not even that attractive?"

Ms Moussa said her client had been duped into collected the money from the officers. She said he had met another man, SS, in the hotel lobby on the day of the incident and agreed to go to a room to collect some money for him in exchange for a commission. He was not told what the money was for.

He arrived at the room at the same time as three women and they all entered the room together, but he "had nothing to do with them" and didn't know what was going on, insisted the lawyer.

Previously the Criminal Court found four men - the Egyptians EF, MA, SS and Syrian BM - guilty of enhancing prostitution and three Moroccan women - LR, NS and KL - guilty of prostitution.

However, in front of the Appeals Court, all seven denied the charges and claimed they did not even know one another.

Ms Moussa demanded access to her client's mobile phone records in the week leading to the arrests, saying these would prove his innocence. "If he knew the other three men or made any deals with them this must show in the phone records," she said.

The judge dismissed her request, but she insisted: "For him to have a hand in the crime he should have communicated with them, he either lived with them and therefore did not require to call them, or there must be a link by phone."

At this point the three women became vocal and demanded records for their phones too, insisting they did not know any of the other defendants either.

EF's wife requested for bail.

"We do not accept bail for such crimes," said the judge.

He adjourned the case until September 22.

hdajani@thenational.ae