Man had ‘no idea friend was dealer’

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @is­mailsebu is­mail@7days.ae

A man was ar­rested af­ter a friend he had not seen in 16 years turned out to be a drug dealer, a court has heard.

The Emi­rati, in his late thir­ties, and his Saudi Ara­bian col­lege friend, 37, caught up at a ho­tel in Abu Dhabi ear­lier this year.

He agreed to drive his friend on an er­rand to the Bani Yas area.

But this turned out to be a hashish deal worth Dhs250,000 – and the buyer was an un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cer.

De­tails of the crime were heard at Abu Dhabi Crim­i­nal Court this week.

The Saudi was con­victed and sen­tenced to death, while his friend was jailed for 15 years.

The Saudi ad­mit­ted to traf­fick­ing and deal­ing drugs, but said the Emi­rati friend had no knowl­edge of the deal.

The friend also de­nied any in­volve­ment, but pros­e­cu­tors said he was wait­ing in a car nearby and he was im­pli­cated in the crime. By Is­mail Se­bug­waawo

The court heard Abu Dhabi Po­lice had re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that the Saudi was a hashish dealer and of­fi­cers ar­ranged the meet­ing at a bus stop with an un­der­cover of­fi­cer pos­ing as a buyer.

In court, the Emi­rati de­nied be­ing in­volved in the deal.

He claimed: “I had just met my friend at the ho­tel, it had been a long time since we had seen each other.

“He asked me to take him to Bani Yas to meet some­one there. I didn’t have any idea the man pos­sessed or dealt drugs.”

The men are en­ti­tled to ap­peal within 15 days, although an ap­peal in a death sen­tence case is au­to­matic.

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