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Middle East: Dubai Sentences Two More Westerners To Prison Over Infinitesimal Amounts of Drugs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #491)

The Dubai Court of First Instance has sentenced two more Westerners to four-year prison terms for possessing tiny amounts of illicit drugs as they transited the Dubai airport. Four years is the minimum sentence for drug possession in the United Arab Emirates.

In the first case, a 25-year-old Britain, identified only as W.H., was sent to prison last week for possessing 0.07 grams of marijuana and two tiny slivers of hashish. The unfortunate Briton told the court he did not intend to bring drugs to Dubai, but merely forget the drug remnants were in his pockets. He will be deported after serving his sentence.

This week, a Canadian citizen employed as a consultant for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and an advisor to the Afghan Poppy Elimination Program was sent to prison for possessing 0.06 grams of hashish. The Dubai courts do not identify defendants, but Canadian press reports named him as Herbert William Tatham of Vancouver.

Tatham's attorney, Saeed Al Gailani, said during an earlier hearing that Tatham was returning from taking part in a drug eradication campaign and that he must have picked up the drug traces in the course of his work. "His trousers must have mistakenly picked up the tiny quantity of hashish," the lawyer had said.

But Dubai's Court of First Instance did not care.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Why pad their pockets that are already lined with petro-dollars? I shake my head in exasperation when people tell me they are going there.

Fri, 06/22/2007 - 2:35pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

A Canadian prohibitionist gets hoist by the same drug prohibition petard which he helps service, by supporting and implementing drug prohibition policies. Policies which have led to the incarceration of God knows how many in foreign hell-holes, in places where they didn't have severe anti-drug laws until the drug prohibs lobbied for them. Am I supposed to cry that one of them gets a taste of what he's given to others? Do the words "poetic justice" come to mind? Live by the sword, and all that...

Fri, 06/22/2007 - 4:01pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

For the prohibitionist, there is some poetic justice but for the other guy-- it's just primitive punishment for nothing. They treat their workers with contempt and charge the earth for tacky hotels, horribly wasteful indoor ski slopes, etc. Democracy is not even a hope there.

Sat, 06/23/2007 - 3:27am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Halliburton of vp Cheney fame is moving its headquarters to Dubai. That will make their CEO's almost impossible to hold accountable for all the money they have stolen from US taxpayers in the name of the Iraq war and no bid contracts Halliburton was favored with. The rats are fleeing from the sinking Bush and looking for a new fascist state to do their “evil dooer” deeds.
Boycott Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, as these are all the same when it comes to Drug War insanity. All these are fascist states the US supports with American blood. How absurd and offensive. No wonder we are at war in all the wrong places. Baghdad is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon but now they are using US troop heads for flower pots.

Sun, 06/24/2007 - 12:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Check out more stories about people imprisoned for very minor offences

Tue, 08/14/2007 - 11:27pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

A British friend of mine was unfortunate to have forgotten a miniscule amount of cannabis in the pocket of his jeans in his suitcase and was arrested at Dubia airport. I have been reading stories of people who have been in this position previously and the horrific harsh prison senetences.
Can someone please give me some advice or guidance as to what I can do to help him..... I feel so helpless

Sat, 11/24/2007 - 8:58pm Permalink

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