x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Diplomat accused of human trafficking

A German diplomat is arrested in Berlin on charges he trafficked people from Afghanistan through the UAE.

DUBAI // A German diplomat in the UAE has been arrested in Berlin on charges of human trafficking and corruption.

MT, a vice-consul with the German consulate in Dubai, is accused of helping human trafficking rings to smuggle people from Afghanistan to Germany through the UAE.

"He was arrested on May 21," said Martin Schaefer, deputy spokesman of the German Foreign Office. "He is a German national who was still employed in the UAE at the time of his arrest.

"The investigations were initiated by the German Foreign Office on suspicion of improper behaviour, and the foreign office informed the German authorities," Mr Schaefer said. "The investigation is ongoing."

German prosecutors have charged MT with corruption and human trafficking. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The foreign office will ensure that consular operations in Dubai continued as usual, Mr Schaefer said.

MT was on holiday in Berlin and on his way back to Dubai when he was arrested at the airport.

"It's terrible if it is true," said a source at the German foreign ministry. "We all still can't believe it. He is such a nice person."

Another source described the arrest as "very unpleasant".

pkannan@thenational.ae