Cop cleared in Messi case
Lawyer says prank was not a crime
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.