x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Human trafficking appeal delayed

An appeals court hears arguments in a major human-trafficking case.

ABU DHABI // Thirteen people convicted of human trafficking will have to wait until December 21 to present their appeal, a court ruled yesterday.

The defendants, 12 Syrian men and one Moroccan woman, were convicted of operating a complex web of handlers, drivers and clients and locking 18 Moroccan women in villas and flats in Al Bateen and the Tourist Club area. Some were sentenced to life in jail.

Their cases were sent by the Court of Cassation back to the Court of Appeals for new hearings this year. In yesterday's hearing, only six, who were free on bail, appeared in court.

They again argued their innocence, saying they were only doing their jobs as taxi drivers.

The judge said defence requests, including calling the CID officer in charge of the case to testify, requesting a statement from the Interior Ministry of the victims' movements in and out of the country, and testimony from a plaintiff who is the wife of one of the defendants, had not been met. He adjourned the hearing until December 21.

hdajani@thenational.ae