x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Warrant against witness who is keeping 'drug dealer' in jail

An alleged drug dealer remains in prison despite the repeated failure of the key witness to testify against him in court.

Abu Dhabi // An alleged drug dealer remains in prison despite the repeated failure of the key witness to testify against him in court.

SR, from Pakistan, was arrested in March after allegedly selling hashish to an undercover policeman posing as a customer.

Police alleged that he told the officer he would deliver the drug in front of Abu Dhabi National Bank in Shahama.

According to court records, SR parked his Nissan car close to the bank and delivered the drug to the officer's car.

An officer involved in the arrest said the drug had been sold for Dh1,000. Anti-narcotics police told prosecutors the drug would be sold for Dh2,000 before they obtained a clearance from Public Prosecution.

Initially, police arrested three men on suspicion of drug dealing, but one was released.

Faiza Moussa, SR's lawyer, told the court her client had confessed to police under duress.

Police arrested him, Ms Moussa said, because they discovered that his mobile phone was the last one called by another defendant.

She said the second defendant had testified to prosecutors that he heard cries when police were questioning SR.

SR pleaded not guilty, saying he was set up. He said he went to the bank to meet a person who promised to get him a job in an oil company.

"If he were to sell drugs, he would not do it in front of a bank," Mrs Moussa said. "We all know that banks are monitored either by cameras or by security officers. If he were a drug dealer, he would know that."

She said her client's claims that the other person had promised him a job were supported by text messages recovered from his iPhone.

The court hearing has been adjourned at least five times because the judge was waiting for text messages on SR's phone to be transcribed, and also for the police informant to testify.

The informant, who is from the same Pakistani tribe as the defendant, was first ordered to attend a court hearing on May 16. He did not.

Between then and yesterday, the case has been adjourned at least four more times. The court has even issued a warrant for his arrest. But still the alleged informant has not attended.

Ms Moussa, citing court records, said none of the police officers who arrested her client saw him selling the drug.

Also, she added, no fingerprints were recovered from the drug or the money.

She said the police officer who led the arrest had testified he had not conducted any investigation himself, instead relying on the informant's tip-off.

The lawyers asked the court to acquit her client due to insufficient evidence. The judge will issue a verdict on November 11.

 

hhassan@thenational.ae