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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Man 'bribed passport officer to let him fly to Beirut to help treat his dying son'

The nine-year-old boy died a week before his father went on trial for bribing a passport control officer

A businessman who bribed a passport officer to overlook his travel ban and allow him to fly to Beirut to provide bone marrow for his son’s cancer treatment did what any man would do in such a situation, his lawyer told Dubai Criminal Court.

“My client couldn't travel due to a ban that was imposed on him because of a bad cheque which bounced because he had no money left after he paid the bribe and after he borrowed a great amount of money to cover the costs of his son’s treatment,” said lawyer Nasser Hashim.

He said the Palestinian man was contacted by his nine-year-old son’s doctors in Lebanon who told him he was the only matching donor.

“He had no other option, and he admits to every word in the charges sheet, but we can clearly see a lack of criminal intent in this case,” he said, arguing that the UAE penal code spares punishment if a crime is committed without criminal intent.

“What happened to my client, can happen to any of us and it would leave us with one choice in very little time, to break the law or leave the child to death without trying to save him or at least see him, even if it meant going to jail,” said Mr Hashim.

He said the chief prosecutor who investigated the case and filed the charges against his client, had personally worked on granting his client bail so he could see his son who had been transferred to Dubai Hospital where he died.

The chief prosecutor even attended the burial to offer his condolences to the father, the lawyer said.

Records show that in September last year the defendant paid an Emirati passport officer Dh60,000 to allow him to travel, then paid him another Dh60,000 in October the same year.

The passport officer denied a charge of accepting bribes in court.

In court last March, the businessman — whose age was not in disclosed in court records — admitted to offering bribes and told the court the bone marrow transplant failed and his son died.

“At least I managed to see my son before he died,” he said.

A police lieutenant said the two defendants were arrested after surveillance cameras recorded the employee taking a bribe from the businessman in a plastic bag.

A verdict is expected on September 24.