x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Emirati ‘fed up’ after 5-year wait for India trial

Frustrated over regular postponements, the former military officer considers appealing to Amnesty International to move the case forward.

Emirati Alkaz Khamis Obaid Khamis wants his case in India to be expedited five years after being accused of funding twin blasts that rocked Hyderabad in 2007, by bringing fake currencies worth 30 million rupees into India. He´s been cleared by two courts but is waiting for the third case to end. P Anil Kumar / The National
Emirati Alkaz Khamis Obaid Khamis wants his case in India to be expedited five years after being accused of funding twin blasts that rocked Hyderabad in 2007, by bringing fake currencies worth 30 million rupees into India. He´s been cleared by two courts but is waiting for the third case to end. P Anil Kumar / The National

DUBAI // An Emirati arrested in India more than five years ago on charges of trafficking millions in counterfeit currency is considering appealing to Amnesty International in a bid to speed up his case.

Alkaz Khamis Obaid Ali, 37, a former military officer, was detained at Hyderabad airport in 2007 and charged with three separate counts of smuggling 26 million rupees (Dh1.7m) from Pakistan to India.

Mr Ali has been acquitted of two of the counts, but the trial at Hyderabad’s Metropolitan Sessions Court on the final charge, which began in September 2009, has been regularly postponed.

“I’m really fed up,” said the father of three, who is on bail awaiting his trial. “I went to court for the hearing on January 11 and the hearing was postponed till January 18.

“On that day it was again postponed until February 7. Every time, the case is being postponed without any justification.”

If the case is postponed again, Mr Ali said, he intended to seek help from Amnesty International, the human-rights organisation.

“I will go to Delhi and give my case details to Amnesty,” he said. “I’ve spoken to the UAE consulate in Mumbai. They said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said it will wait until the next hearing.”

Mr Ali was arrested on August 24, 2007, one day before two bomb blasts rocked Hyderabad.

Eight other people were arrested in connection with the bombings, including two of Mr Ali’s brothers-in-law, who are Indian.

Indian media reported that police were investigating whether the money he is accused of transporting to India was meant to finance the blasts.

Mr Ali retired from the UAE Armed Forces in 2004 and was running a garment-trading business in Dubai. He said he was in the city on business.

He was first held in prison for four years and was then released on bail in 2011. But the long wait for trial has taken a toll on him and his family in the UAE, he said.

“Sometimes the judge is on holiday, or the police investigation officer is not available, or the government lawyer is not present, or the court is on holiday,” he said.

“If they find me guilty, OK, punish me. But here I am not being sentenced or acquitted.

“I am not running away anywhere. It’s the police and the judicial process that are running away from me. My family is tired and upset.”

Mr Ali has successfully fought two similar cases – one in Gujarat and another in Hyderabad – of currency smuggling.

Documents show that a Gujarat court cleared him of suspicion on the first count and ordered his acquittal in 2009. A year later, a Hyderabad court did the same on the second charge. As part of his bail conditions Mr Ali cannot leave India, and a petition filed with the court last year to release his passport to temporarily travel to Dubai to see his family was rejected.

pkannan@thenational.ae