Spice boys: UK drug suspects cry torture but Dubai authorities are not buying it

Published February 21st, 2013 - 05:36 GMT
Spice synthetic cannabis
Spice synthetic cannabis

Three Britons, charged with possessing a kilogram of Spice drug for promotional purposes, were denied bail on Thursday amidst “untrue massive British media allegations” that Dubai Police tortured them.

If found guilty by the Dubai Court of First Instance, the three British visitors, 24-year-old S.K., and K.W. and G.C., both are 25, could be facing a maximum imprisonment of 15 years and a hefty fine of Dh200,000.

Dubai prosecutors accused the trio of possessing 1060 grams of synthetic cannabis known as Spice for promotional purposes. They were also accused of consuming drugs.

British media published unconfirmed allegations, quoting a human rights organisation [that claimed to have obtained statements from the defendants] which claimed that the suspects were tortured and forced to confess at gunpoint.

Media reports also cited a lawyer, for the organisation, quoting K.W. that Dubai police officers purportedly electrocuted him in his testicles.

British media published “inaccurate information” alleging that the suspects’ first appearance before a court was scheduled on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the defendants’ trial started on January 28.

A source close to the case told Gulf News: “All the defendants’ claims are untrue. They lied. When questioned by drug enforcement officers and prosecutors, none of them complained, alleged, mentioned or even gave any significance that they were tortured. There is no mention of any sort of mistreatment by the police. Supposedly, they were tortured or coerced to confess, why didn’t they mention that before the court? Why didn’t they or their lawyers complain?”

The source criticised the British media for publishing such “groundless allegations”.

“The Britons appeared in court and entered their pleas without mentioning that they were tortured or beaten. Usually, many defendants complain before judges that they were tortured, beaten or pushed to confess. Why didn’t the defendants complain to the authorities so that an investigation would be held? The legal system herein is independent and objective and would not be influenced by such biased media lies and unfounded allegations,” concluded the source.

On January 28, K.W. entered an innocent plea and told presiding judge Ali Attiyah Saad: “I told the prosecutor that I smoked drugs in my country and not here. I was only here for three days.”

S.K. firmly said he didn’t consume drugs and pleaded not guilty.

“I used it in my country and not in the UAE,” contended G.C.

During Thursday’s hearing, presiding judge denied bail requests lodged by the defendants’ lawyers.

The court will hear prosecution witnesses when it reconvenes on March 14.

When asked whether the Britons could face a case of false allegations that they were tortured, a senior prosecutor told Gulf News: “They could face legal action in case there are grounds to do so. The allegations were published in the media and that by itself is insignificant. Supposedly they were tortured; the penal law grants them the right to complain that their rights were abused. But they didn’t complain. In case their claims turned out to be baseless, then it is only an investigation that would expose the truth.”

Dubai police denied the media reports about the Britons being tortured.

“An independent investigation has confirmed that the media reports were unfounded and far from being truthful,” said a police source.

An Emirati anti-narcotics second lieutenant testified that the defendants were arrested following an informant’s tip-off.

“An informant reported Dubai Police’s anti-narcotics department that the suspects possessed Spice drug for promotional purposes. The informant warned us that the defendant were present at Dubai Marina. We obtained prosecutors’ permission and headed to the parking lot of the Yachts Club. K.W. and G.C. were spotted sitting inside a BMW car meanwhile S.K. was a few metres away. We arrested the suspects and upon searching their vehicle, Spice drugs were found hidden inside envelopes under the passenger’s foot rug. Another amount of Spice drugs was found in the back trunk. K.W. immediately claimed that the drugs belonged to a British man named V.D.,” said the lieutenant.

The trial continues.

 By Bassam Za’za’

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