A Briton arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on suspicion of drug trafficking pleaded his innocence, saying he was merely in the Gulf on a shopping trip with his wife.
Stacy Simpson, 25, told Sunday's Gulf News from a prison in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah that he had visited neighboring Dubai from Britain to buy cheap clothes with his wife Anna Maria Kid, 22.
Simpson and Kid were arrested in November on suspicion of being part of a seven-member gang that had set up "a website which provided veiled information on drugs dens" and operated between the two emirates.
But he denied knowing any of the five others arrested, including two other Britons -- 27-year-old air stewardess Catherine Jenkins and Danny Molph, 42 -- an Australian woman and two Lebanese men, the paper said.
However, Simpson, who flew into Dubai from Amsterdam, did admit that a urine test carried out shortly after he was detained tested positive for drugs.
Several foreigners have been sentenced to death over the past two years under a 1995 law that lays down capital punishment for drug trafficking. But no executions -- normally by firing squad in the UAE -- have been announced for narcotics crimes.
Two British nationals who had served almost half of a four-and-a-half year sentence in the UAE for drug smuggling were pardoned on December 25 to coincide with the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Former headmistress Lynn Majakas, 45, and social worker Ian Bamling, 31, were jailed after being caught with a small amount of cannabis in Abu Dhabi.
Both protested their innocence and complained to the British media of having to sleep on the overcrowded prison's concrete floors and wash in showers which doubled as toilets, while Bamling said he had witnessed suicides and gang rapes of fellow prisoners -- RAS AL-KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AFP)
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