x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Prison term for kidnapper

A professional footballer is sentenced to three years for kidnapping a woman and holding her at his apartment.

DUBAI // A professional footballer was found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to three years in prison yesterday for dragging a woman into his car and holding her at his apartment for several hours before releasing her. It was the second jail sentence handed down this year by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance to the man, who can be named only as SA, an Emirati, aged 26. In August the court sentenced him to three years in prison after finding him guilty on a separate firearms charge.

SA did not appear in court yesterday, and neither did his co-defendant RM, also an Emirati, who was also sentenced to three years in prison for attempted kidnapping. SA's lawyer, Eisa bin Haidar, said he would file an appeal. "I was expecting a verdict of not guilty. This is the judgment of the court, but we will appeal," Mr Haidar said. SA has also appealed against the firearm verdict. Mr Haidar said he had asked the court to hear evidence from Major Gen Khamis Matar al Mezeina, the Dubai deputy police chief, but it had not called him. He said he would ask the Dubai Appeal Court to summon Gen Mezeina to testify at the appeal.

Prosecutors said the kidnapping occurred on Aug 31 last year when SA and RM picked up four Arab women outside a nightclub in Rashidiya at about 2am. SA grabbed the businesswoman by an arm, dragged her to his car and drove off towards Sharjah. The woman's three companions, all Moroccans, remained in the vehicle driven by RM. "We want to know why the women were not charged by the police with consuming alcoholic beverages just as my client was charged," Mr Haidar said.

"We will ask the court to call Mezeina to testify on this point. " At a hearing in July, a policeman told the court he had a telephone conversation with the victim after the incident was reported and she told him she had not been kidnapped. She said she knew SA well and they were old friends, the policeman said. RM was arrested in his car with the three Moroccan women inside. "The women were concerned for their friend's safety," the arresting officer told the court at the July hearing. "They said SA was upset, that he grabbed their friend by her hand and dragged her to his car and drove off; they were worried he might do something to her.

* The National