Tourists oblivious of United Arab Emirates drugs laws end up in jail 8 Feb, 2008, 1018 hrs IST, AGENCIES
DUBAI: Western tourists oblivious to the severe drugs laws in the United Arab Emirates often end up in jail after arriving in the conservative Muslim country with tiny amounts of narcotics for their own use.But the UAE authorities do not deviate from their strict rules which stipulate imprisonment for a minimum of four years followed by deportation for those convicted of having drugs in their possession.
People convicted of the more serious offence of drugs trafficking can face capital punishment, although executions rarely take place in the desert Gulf nation.
With Dubai a favourite holiday spot, dozens of Westerners have been arrested upon arrival in recent years, according to a diplomatic source familiar with cases of people caught with small amounts of narcotics.
One such visitor was British dance DJ Grooverider, who was arrested last November for possession of 2.16 grammes of marijuana upon arrival in Dubai.
Grooverider was quoted in local press reports on January 28 as telling a court he had forgotten he had a small amount of the drug in his pocket. His case was adjourned until later this month.
“There are over a million British tourists a year coming to the UAE,” said Simon Goldsmith, spokesman at the British Embassy in Dubai. “We have a travel advice making it clear that the penalty is very severe” for drug possession.
AFP tried unsuccessfully to get a comment from the office of Dubai’s public prosecutor