x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE man jailed for selling magic spells to undercover police appeals

Alleged wizard appeals his jail sentence, saying that witchcraft was not a suitably respectable profession for a man of his standing.

ABU DHABI // A man convicted of selling magic spells to an undercover policewoman for Dh75,000 told a court today that witchcraft was not a suitably respectable profession for a man of his standing.

"My daughter is a doctor, my son is a lawyer, and the other one an engineer, and my wife is a school principal... Why would I enter such a field and take part in such practices?" A, from Iraq, asked the Appeals Court.

The man was sentenced to four months in jail and deportation after the Criminal Court found him guilty of selling the spells to the undercover officer, who complained to him of marital problems.

Police say the man was arrested after handing the undercover officer a number of amulets and a stack of orange sheets with the spells written on them. They said he justified the Dh75,000 price tag by saying he needed to import the spells from abroad.

But the man denied that any such deal took place.

"Then who wrote those [spells] in the envelope?" asked Chief Justice Dr Khairi Al Kabbash.

"Not me," insisted the man.

Dr Al Kabbash sent the spells to a forensics laboratory to test whether they contained the man's handwriting.

"We need you to create an amulet for Mrs Fayza," he then joked, referring to the man's defence lawyer.

"But don't touch Khalid (the court cleric) - he has only one son."

As the defence lawyer Fayza Moussa tried to speak, the chief justice told her: "Don't speak, mind your own business - or he will cast a spell on you."

He granted the man bail, but is yet to set a date for the next hearing.

hdajani@thenational.ae