x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Deputy police chief to give evidence

A deputy police chief has been called to testify next month in the case of an Emarati footballer charged with kidnapping an Arab businesswoman.

DUBAI // A deputy police chief has been called to testify next month in the case of an Emarati footballer charged with kidnapping an Arab businesswoman. The footballer, named only as SA, 26, was given a three-year jail term last month in a separate case involving the possession and firing of an unlicensed firearm. His defence counsel, Eisa bin Haidar, asked the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance yesterday to call Khamis al Mezzeina, Dubai's deputy police chief, to explain why the alleged kidnap victim and her friends were not arrested for consuming alcoholic beverages as his client was.

SA and his co-defendant RM picked up the woman and her three female companions outside a nightclub in Dubai. The footballer was charged with locking her up in his apartment in August last year as well as trying to kidnap the three other women, who are all Moroccans. His co-defendant RM, also an Emarati, is accused of helping him. "We want to know why the four women were not charged by police with consuming alcoholic beverages," Mr Haidar told the court. Judge Saeed bin Sarm adjourned the case until Oct 21 to allow time for Mr Mazzeina to be notified of the request.

At an earlier hearing in July, the arresting officer had told the court that the Arab businesswoman had told him she was not kidnapped and that SA was actually an old friend. The policeman had arrested RM after reports of an incident outside a nightclub in Rashidiya. The three Moroccan women were with him in his car. One of the women had telephoned police because she was worried about the safety of her friend, the Arab businesswoman. The officer said: "They said [SA] was upset, that he grabbed their friend by her hand and dragged her to his car and drove off. They were worried he might do something to her.

"The women said all they wanted was their friend back and they wanted to go home." He added: "I spoke to their friend on the phone... and she told me 'I am not kidnapped, [SA] is an old friend of mine'." Earlier this year, SA was tried and cleared by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours of assault charges, causing a disability, issuing threats and attempted arson. hbathish@thenational.ae