x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Pakistani pleads not guilty over drugs

Police say he tried to smuggle 48 capsules containing heroin.

DUBAI // A Pakistani man yesterday pleaded not guilty to attempting to smuggle and distribute 48 heroin capsules he had swallowed. Appearing before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, the defendant, FM, 25, said the heroin was for his own personal consumption. According to the Public Prosecutor's report, police at Dubai International Airport were notified by immigration officials that they were holding FM, who was wanted by the Dubai anti-narcotics task force. When officers arrested FM and questioned him, he denied having any drugs, but when X-rayed, 48 capsules were found in his stomach.

Prosecutors accuse FM of planning to meet another man at the airport to hand over the drugs. A police officer accompanied FM to Dubai Hospital, where the capsules were recovered. Judge Al Saeed Mohammed Barghouth ordered that FM remain in jail until his next hearing, on August 2. In a separate case, an African man in his 20s appeared before the same court yesterday, charged with attempting to smuggle and distribute narcotics.

The defendant, RM, pleaded not guilty. His attorney argued that the charges should be dropped. "My client had no intention of smuggling or distributing drugs in the UAE," the defence attorney said before the court. "He is a poor man who was paid US$500 (Dh1,800) in Sao Paulo to swallow and carry the drugs to Nairobi, where he was promised he would be paid another $2,500. "He was simply in transit through Dubai to catch his next flight to Kenya. He had no intention of smuggling the drugs into the country, nor did he intend to distribute them on our streets."

RM will remain in custody pending the judge's ruling, scheduled for July 28. ealghalib@thenational.ae