Cop cleared in Messi case

Lawyer says prank was not a crime

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Ali Al Shouk @alial­shouk

A Dubai Po­lice of­fi­cer has been ac­quit­ted of breach­ing the pri­vacy of Barcelona foot­baller Lionel Messi in a case that his lawyer says should never have gone to court.

The 26-year-old Emi­rati had been sen­tenced to a month in jail by Dubai Mis­de­meanours Court af­ter be­ing con­victed of the charge for tak­ing a Snapchat clip of him­self hold­ing the sports­man’s pass­port at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port. He claimed it was just a joke and that Messi’s man­ager had said it was okay.

The court of ap­peal has now over­turned that ver­dict.

Ab­dul Mu­niem bin Suwaidan, of Bin Suwaidan Ad­vo­cates and Le­gal Con­sul­tants, told 7DAYS his client’s act was an ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fence not a crim­i­nal one.

“We are happy about the ver­dict. He is in­no­cent now,” he added.

Bin Suwaidan said he be­lieved Messi was un­aware of the case as it was not the foot­baller who filed the com­plaint, adding: “Messi is a great player and I think he wouldn’t want any­one to be hurt be­cause of him.” He also said it wasn’t un­til four days af­ter the clip was pub­lished that po­lice took ac­tion. Messi (pic­tured) had been in Dubai for the Globe Soc­cer Awards in De­cem­ber. The of­fi­cer was at Ter­mi­nal 2, where he worked, when Messi’s flight landed at 5am. He picked up the player’s pass­port from the con­trol desk and took a quick clip of him jok­ily ask­ing Snapchat fol­low­ers whether he should burn the doc­u­ment, so the star would have to stay in the coun­try, or put it back. Bin Suwaidan said the of­fi­cer is sus­pended from his job but can re­turn to work when the ver­dict is fi­nalised, which would hap­pen should no fur­ther chal­lenges be lodged.

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