x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

US soldier insulted passport officer, court told

Military man, returning from holiday, had been drinking, prosecutors say.

DUBAI // An American soldier flying through Dubai to Afghanistan from holiday in the Philippines was arrested at the Dubai airport for insulting a passport officer, a court heard this morning.

The 35-year-old passenger GA denied insulting the Emirati officer, but admitted to consuming liquor.

About 11pm on June 28 at the arrival hall of Terminal 3, GA was in a queue to have his passport stamped. The passport officer, corporal MA, 25, asked GA to take off his sunglasses, per security regulations, records show.

"I could smell alcohol on him when I asked him to take off his glasses for identity check," MA said, adding that GA refused and insulted him, saying: "son of a b****".

MA, who has been working at the airport for seven years, testified that GA was stalling and murmuring insulting words. When he asked GA to accompany him to the police office, he said, GA mocked his traditional dress and pushed him in front of police officers.

"He lit a cigarette at the police office, despite knowing it's not allowed," MA said.

According to police records, GA confessed to insulting MA with the inappropriate phrase, but in prosecution records he denied it.

"I did not mean the officer; I said the phrase about something else," GA said in records.

GA confessed to drinking five small bottles of whiskey onboard an Emirates Airlines fight from Manilla.

He added that he complied with MA's request and took off the sunglasses, but when he tried to put them on again after the identity check was done, MA forced him not to.

"MA was asking him politely to take off the glasses when he replied to him with an insult," testified AM, a colleague passport officer.

The next hearing will be on August 29.

salamir@thenational.ae