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Drug suspect tells Dubai court jailing addicts pointless

Suspected drug user calls for rehabilitation of drug addicts, not prison terms

Gulf News

Dubai: A suspect stunned a court on Monday when he said imprisoning drug addicts was pointless and called on officials and rulers to amend the procedures pertaining to such suspects.

“Law enforcement procedures have to be improved as drug suspects are sick people who need to be admitted to rehab centres for treatment and not jailed. A four-year jail term does not rehabilitate or clean drug addicts or hold them back from narcotics,” said the 44-year-old Emirati defendant.

The defendant, S.M., pleaded not guilty before the Court of First Instance to the charges of possessing heroin and taking morphine, codeine and other narcotics

Towards the beginning of the hearing the defendant repeatedly told presiding judge Ali Attiyah Sa’ad, who cited S.M.’s charges: “They [prosecutors] claim… they claim… they claim.”

When asked by the judge whether he pleaded guilty or not, the suspect then handed the judge a medical report.

After requesting permission to address the court, S.M. argued: “I cannot understand how a medical report, issued by a government hospital, confirms that I am schizophrenic and suffer constant depression … and still prosecutors referred me to court and did not send me to a rehabilitation centre. Sir, the medical reports that’s in your hands now clearly confirms that I am not responsible for my actions and behaviour. I am a sick man who needs medication. Imprisoning me won’t solve the matter or spare society from my behaviour… I need to be medicated.

“Law enforcement procedures are being implemented in a wrong manner. Legal procedures have to be amended and developed. When I was first brought to the court’s detention this morning, detainees told me that you are a good and fair judge. I am sure that you can meet the Ruler and suggest to him that the procedures have to be amended. All drug addicts are suffering inside prisons… jailing them is not going to help them get rid of the evils of drugs.”

Then he turned towards the court and said: “Even lawyers can visit the ruler and suggest to him to amend the procedures.”

The suspect continued: “Your honour, a few years ago another judge acquitted me of possessing and trafficking drugs based on medical reports that confirmed that I am schizophrenic and not responsible for my actions. Why was I referred to court although I provided prosecutors with a similar report? I am sure that even if you jail me, after I serve my punishment, I will walk out of jail, kill someone, then return to this courtroom and still be acquitted based on that medical report.

“If you are to sentence me now, please don’t give me the usual four-year jail term because it won’t cure me of addiction… and I don’t want to be released and return to addiction. Please give me a death sentence with immediate effect. Otherwise send me to a rehab centre.”

Presiding judge Sa’ad adjourned the case until August 5 and the defendant will be examined by a medical committee to decide whether he is schizophrenic and responsible for his actions.