Customs staff ‘made to confess under duress’

ABU DHABI — The Supreme Federal Court, taking note of a government official’s claim that he had confessed to accepting a bribe under duress after the police allegedly beat him up during interrogation, ordered his case to be reviewed by the Sharjah Court of Appeal.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2005, 10:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

Abdul Rahman Mahmoud, a customs inspector in Sharjah, was accused of accepting a bribe to facilitate export of goods and cars from the country without proper payment of customs duties, and was sentenced to three months in jail, besides a fine of Dh5,000, by the Court of Appeal.

According to the case history, Abdul Rahman was accused of accepting cash as bribe to facilitate the ‘exit’ of goods and automobiles from UAE without checking their quantity and quality. This meant that the proper customs duty was not taken, thus intentionally causing financial damage to a government department in the export of goods out of the UAE in order to make a financial gain for himself.

The court records also showed that the man who offered the bribe was Shakker Medhat. Another man accused in a related case, identified as Abu Bakker J., was charged with having knowledge of a crime and failing to bring it to the notice of the government. The Sharjah Criminal Court acquitted Abdul Rahman and two others.

The Sharjah Court of Appeal, however, annulled the earlier verdict against Abdul Rahman, and sentenced him to three months in prison and fined him Dh5,000, with the confiscation of the seized bribe money. Shakker was given a month’s imprisonment, and Abu Bakker was acquitted of the charge filed against him.

Abdul Rahman later appealed against the verdict and withdrew his confessions, claiming that policemen had beaten him up to make him confess. He said he had suffered injuries and that the Public Prosecutor had been informed about the bruises in the left arm and in the right foot. He also claimed that his confessions at the prosecution were because of police threats to him.

The Supreme Federal Court ordered the case to be reviewed by the Appeals Court with a new panel of judges different from the one which first heard the case.

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