Middle East: Don't Take Your Doobies to Dubai
from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #489, 6/8/07Travelers headed to Dubai should take a thorough inventory before heading for the airport. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently taking an extremely hard line on cannabis offenses. Last week, an Italian visitor was sentenced to years in prison for a microscopic portion of hashish, and this week, a British citizen faces a similar punishment for inadvertently carrying a similarly miniscule amount of hash and marijuana.
On May 31, the Dubai Court of First Instance found a 24-year-old Italian man identified only by the initials "A.D." guilty of smuggling and possessing 1/100th of a gram of hash after he arrived at the airport. The quantity discovered -- 1/2800th of an ounce -- is too small to be usable and so tiny that the fact it was detected at all is remarkable.
A.D. told the court he did not realize the hash was there. "I didn't intend to bring the drugs," he told presiding Judge Abdul Majid Al Nezamy. "I forgot it in the inner pocket of my jacket."
That didn't matter to Judge Al Nezamy, who sentenced the unfortunate Italian to four years in prison to be followed by deportation.
Now a 25-year-old Briton known as "W.H." faces the same fate. He was busted coming in with 0.07 grams of marijuana and "two barely noticeable slivers of hashish," as the Gulf Times put it. Again, the hapless traveler said he had forgotten the drugs were there. "I wrongly forget them in my pockets," W.H. told the court.
W.H. goes back to court next week. A.D. is already serving his sentence.