x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Women inmates 'tied up prison guard as part of jailbreak bid'

Three female prisoners tied up guard in bid to escape, hears court.

DUBAI // Three female prisoners tied up a guard in a bid to escape, a court heard this week.

They tricked the guard at Al Raffa Police Station by claiming they needed to make urgent phone calls. When she left her office to open the phone booth they grabbed her, stole her keys and dragged her back into the office, where they bound and gagged her.

They locked her in and tried to escape but were caught by other officers who heard the guard's screams.

Prosecutors told the Misdemeanours Court the escape attempt was made on January 24.

"One of them stuck a piece of cloth inside my mouth to stop me from screaming, then another held a screwdriver to my neck and threatened me," the guard said. She said she struggled and managed to dislodge the cloth from her mouth. She then screamed.

In court, PL, 41, from Uzbekistan, and MJ, 33, from Kyrgyzstan - who had been detained on a human-trafficking charge - and EA, 39, also from Uzbekistan, were charged with assaulting and threatening an officer of the law and trying to escape detention.

"During five months that I have been in detention, escape did cross my mind but I have never attempted to do it until the other two convinced me," MJ said.

Her role was to act as a lookout.

"We had to wait for the right time and also choose the right policewoman - one we thought we could overpower," she said.

PL denied any knowledge of, or participation in, the escape plan.

EA said she heard the other two were planning to attempt an escape and asked to join them.

But she claimed that on the day of the attempt she had not realised the other two were in the process of escaping - she only heard the guard screaming and went over to investigate.

The case was adjourned to July 10.

salamir@thenational.ae