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Middle East: Dubai Court Sentences Woman to Life for Selling a Joint

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #597)
Politics & Advocacy

A court in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, has sentenced a young woman to life in prison for selling a joint to an undercover officer and possessing 16 more weighing a total of 19 grams. According to the UAE news site 7 Days, the unnamed Tanzanian citizen in her 20s was caught after police received a tip she was running a "drug den" in the Diera area of Dubai.

An Emirati police officer told the Dubai Court of First Instance that they had been tipped in December that the woman was selling drugs from her apartment. "Our sources informed us that she used her flat in Deira area of Dubai as a drugs den and she was trading with customers there," the Emirati officer said. "We sent an undercover policeman to her flat and he bought a cigarette for dhs30. She was possessing many cigarettes full with marijuana and she confessed to us that she used to sell them for dhs30 each."

That converts to about $8.10. At the same per joint rate, the young woman's entire stash would be worth less than $130.

The woman also tested positive for unspecified drugs. That alone is enough to get you imprisoned in the UAE, which has snared not only its own citizens but also unwary travelers passing through Dubai International Airport, who with depressing regularity receive four-year prison sentences for a positive drug test or possession of even the tiniest detectable traces of drugs.

The young woman had denied all charges. Her lawyer has vowed to appeal, but barring a successful appeal or pardon, she would not be eligible to be released and deported for at least 25 years.

Dubai court officials were fine with that. "The law orders us to sentence anyone trading with any amount of drugs to life in jail. Even if the amount is a few grams, it's still trading," one told 7 News. "This verdict is sending out a clear message to anyone trading with drugs that this business can ruin your life."

Or, more accurately, the Dubai courts can.

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.


czekmark (not verified)

Yes, the penalty is harsh, but anyone with 2 brain cells should know not to traffic in drugs in UAE. Putting oneself at risk like she apparently did, is idiotic.

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 2:38pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

In reply to by czekmark (not verified)

Michael Jackson moved to Dabai after Neverland was raided by cops. Jacko was on opiates then. What better place to go to for opiates than the middle east? Wacko was treated as royalty i`m sure. Surely the Dubai system of law is fair and equal to all?

Sun, 08/16/2009 - 12:16am Permalink
bongstar420 (not verified)

Im sure that would have happened to those rich douchbags that live there.

Tue, 08/18/2009 - 11:31pm Permalink

I'm sure cigarettes are legal in Dubai.... would anyone be locked up for those? which is worse?

you should be able to do what you want to your own body.

I read recently that one of these middle eastern 'princes' is banned from equestrian for a year because his horse tested positive for steroids. I bet that horse didn't want the drugs.

you need well educated people and a strong vibrant media for a revolution... the brass makes sure we don't have those.

it seems the only way to change the world is with a gun or a bomb.


Wed, 08/26/2009 - 11:47pm Permalink

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