10-year jail for Wafi heist accused

DUBAI — One of the two Yugoslav defendants in the sensational Wafi jewellery heist was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by deportation.

By Mary Nammour (Our staff reporter)

Published: Tue 10 Jun 2008, 1:30 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:26 PM

Thirty-three-year-old N.S., owner of a company, was accused of complicity in the daring robbery at the Graff jewellery store in Wafi City that took place on April 15 last year.

The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, however, acquitted the second defendant, 52-year-old M.M., of the charges of possessing some of the looted jewellery.

“It is obvious to the court that N.S. had planned the heist together with other suspects in Belgrade,” Presiding Judge Fahmi Mounir told Khaleej Times after delivering the verdict.

Judge Mounir added: “N.S. helped the other suspects get UAE visas as well as to find accommodations. He was also found guilty of helping them buy the tools, which were later used in the crime. Besides, he accompanied them to the shop in Naif area from where they bought the abayas. He was also present with them at the time of buying the tools for burning the two cars used in the crime. The salesmen identified them during the trial.”

“N.S. had confessed to the Public Prosecution and during police interrogation that he and his accomplices had chosen Graff jewellery store as their target,” the judge stated.

As to the acquittal of M.M., Judge Mounir pointed out: “The police officers found a rented car belonging to one of the suspects parked behind the Sudanese consulate on April 28 last year. They kept a close watch on it until M.M. stepped into it. When they searched the car the officers found part of the stolen jewellery hidden next to a seat. No evidence was found to incriminate M.M. and the latter denied any connection to the jewellery, saying that one of the suspects had given him the key to the car for use in Dubai.”

The defence counsel of N.S., Ali Al Shamsi, told Khaleej Times that he did not expect such a verdict. “I was sort of surprised. In a similar robbery case at a shopping centre, the suspect got only two years,” he said.

Al Shamsi said an appeal against the verdict would be filed. “I do believe in the innocence of my client. He did not help the main suspects buy the abayas or other stuff. He was just with them. He did not even help them get UAE visas. The crime was committed without his participation. His only fault could be that he might have been aware of the criminal act, but failed to report it to the police,” he said.

Both the accused have all along maintained their ‘not guilty’ plea. Four other suspects wanted in connection with the case are still at large.

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