Uzbek woman dons explosives belt and threatens to blow up Dubai court
A still photo from a CCTV footage inside the Dubai Public Prosecution building on Monday. (Image courtesy of the Daily Star)
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A mother wearing a belt of explosives who threatened to blow herself up in the Dubai Public Prosecution building has surrendered and has been arrested.
The arrest, made by Dubai Police at 1.20am on Monday morning, brought to an end a 13-hour stand-off during which the Uzbek woman demanded her five-year-old son, who was with her, be registered in the name of his father who is in Dubai Central Jail.
The 'bomb belt' worn by the Uzbek woman was found to contain no explosive material after she surrendered, Dubai Police said.
A statement from the Dubai Media Office said that wires similar to the one that the woman wore, claiming to be an explosive belt, “were found at her home and found to be normal after examination by explosives experts”.
A team of four security personnel led the negotiation that ended the stand-off peacefully, the statement added.
The 32-year-old woman entered the building at 12.15pm on Sunday when the Public Prosecution was crowded with people. She was wearing a black abaya and shayla over her clothes and carried all her meals. She entered the reception of the building and said something in broken Arabic which was unclear.
The woman removed her abaya and showed the belt of explosives. The woman then threatened to detonate the explosives if her demands were not met as her son stood beside her. She kept her black bag next to her.
Police said employees and people panicked and fled. The Public Prosecution building and the adjacent Dubai Courts were evacuated and police cordoned off the area as a team of negotiators plotted their next steps. They eventually managed to get the woman to surrender and hand over the explosives. Never before has such an incident happened in the emirate.
The woman, reportedly speaking in Russian, said she wanted to meet His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and describe her plight.
Police officials said the woman is an illegal resident and has been living in Dubai for 10 years. Officials said her son is also an illegal resident and does not have a passport.
The woman has been a regular visitor to the Public Prosecution complaining about family problems with her husband in jail. There is no information yet on why her husband is in jail and what trouble the woman was having in her family. The woman’s lawyer said the husband had financial trouble.
Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Acting Chief of Dubai Police, headed the team of negotiators. Explosives experts and civil defence teams were stationed at the Public Prosecution building. More than 20 police cars were deployed.
Police officials said she had a remote control in her hand with a thumb on one button. From time to time, she threatened to press the button. Major General Mazeina accompanied by two women were standing in front of her. Three Uzbek men were said to be talking to her over the phone to make her see sense. Later at night Dubai Police served the woman and her child food.