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Man cleared of importing illegal medicine in case of mistaken identity

Published in: The National

The Jordanian man was arrested upon collecting a package containing over 23,000 tablets of Pregabalin

A man sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a Dh100,000 fine for importing controlled medicine into the country was cleared of all charges after it emerged that the illegal package delivered to him was intended for someone else.

On October 16, the 33-year-old Jordanian man was arrested after he visited an express shipping company in Dubai to collect a package containing 23,226 tablets of Pregabalin.

“He was called by the company and informed that there was a package in his name that he needs to pick up," said Dr Hassan Elhais, the legal consultant at Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy, who represented the defendant. "He told them that he wasn't expecting any packages and refused to go but they kept calling”.

An arrest warrant was issued but the name on the warrant did not match that of the defendant, said Dr Elhais.

An Emirati lieutenant at Dubai’s drug control department said he tasked with arresting the man at the shipping company’s office.

“We saw the defendant and arrested him, but then we found out that his name was different from that on the arrest warrant,” he said in records.

He said the man’s mobile phone call history showed he had received calls from Turkey, from where the package was sent, which police used as confirmation that he was involved in its delivery to the UAE.

During questioning, the man told police and prosecutors that he was merely visiting the country and denied having any knowledge of the illegal package.

“I arrived a few days ago through Sharjah airport for a visit. I obtained a mobile number from the airport then started receiving calls from a woman who spoke English. I didn't understand what she wanted and I hung up," said the defendant.

"Later I received several calls from the express shipping about a package, I told them I don't have a package and didn't go, but when they kept calling, I went to clear things up,” said the defendant.

The man was convicted in court and sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Dh100,000.

He was subsequently acquitted by Dubai Court of Appeal, which ordered the man’s immediate release.

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