Apex court orders retrial of drug case

ABU DHABI — Four defendants accused of trafficking in hashish won a reprieve when the Federal Supreme Court ordered a retrial of their case. This was based on the finding that the court that looked into their case did not appoint a lawyer for each of them despite the fact that they had conflicting interests. According to the court, it was not permitted for one lawyer to be assigned to defend the four defendants, especially as two of them were standing as witnesses against each other.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 1 Mar 2006, 9:51 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:24 PM

Sajid J., Gul A., Abdullah A. and Abdul Q B., all Pakistani nationals, were charged by the Public Prosecution with trading in hashish. The first accused Sajid was charged with possession of hashish and drug abuse besides working for an employer other than his lawful sponsor without the consent of the immigration authorities. While Amir was charged with consuming liquor, Abdullah was accused of giving money to Abdul Q. to bring in hashish. He was also responsible for introducing Abdul Q to Sajid to receive the hashish. Abdullah is said to have given a 'complimentary' quantity of hashish to Sajid for his use. Abdullah also knew about Abdul Q's illegal entry into the country without a passport or travel document and failed to inform the authorities about him. He himself entered the country on a visit visa and overstayed his welcome. Abdul Q. was charged with bringing in hashish for trading purposes, in addition to entering the country from an illegal entry point without a passport.

The Abu Dhabi Shariah Criminal Court gave the life sentence to Sajid for possessing and trading in hashish, and a four-year term for drug abuse and fined him Dh1,000 for absconding from his lawful sponsor. A deportation order was also passed on him. Amir was given life sentence for trading in hashish and was ordered 70 lashes for consuming liquor. He was also to be deported at the end of his sentence.

Abdullah was awarded the life sentence for bringing in hashish for trading purposes. He was given a jail term for illegal entry and stay, to be followed by deportation. The contraband was ordered impounded by the authorities.

The four defendants appealed the verdict at the Shariah Appeal Court in Ajman, which modified the 70 lashes to 80 for Amir, but upheld other details of the verdict. The defendants contested the verdict at the Federal Supreme Court. The Apex court held that a lawyer should have been appointed for each defendant as their interests were in conflict. The court therefore ordered the case to be looked into afresh by the Court of Appeal.

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