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Housewife cleared of possessing poppy seeds

Court acquits woman who claimed she bought seeds packet to use them to cook for her children

Gulf News

Dubai: A housewife has been cleared of possessing poppy seeds after she convinced the court that she brought them for cooking purposes without knowing that it is banned in the UAE.

Law enforcement officers stopped the 33-year-old Indian housewife, A.G., who was in possession of 255gm of poppy seeds at Dubai International Airport in August.

When she appeared in the Dubai Court of First Instance, A.G. pleaded not guilty and denied the accusation of smuggling and possessing poppy seeds for personal consumption.

“I did bring those seeds with me, but I did not know that it was a banned substance. I usually buy them for cooking,” she told the court.

When asked by the judge if she had any knowledge that such seeds could be grown, the woman said: “No. We use these seeds for cooking in India. I did not know that it is a banned substance.”

Her lawyer Saeed Al Gailani argued that his client was unfoundedly and illegally detained by Customs officers at the airport.

“Why did the Customs officer stop her? She did not commit any crime to be apprehended by customs inspectors. What sort of suspicious behaviour did she display to be detained and searched? Nothing. She did nothing wrong. The Customs officer did not have the legal justification to stop her. Law enforcement procedures were carried out unlawfully against my client,” contended Al Gailani.

The suspect is a mother of five children and she wouldn’t have risked her life and that of her family had she known that those seeds were drugs, argued Al Gailani.

“She usually buys such seeds for cooking. Those seeds are sold in pre-packed sacks and it is not mentioned on them that they are drugs. The packaging just reads seeds … she brought them for cooking and did not know that it could be grown and used as a drug,” argued the lawyer as he produced three packages as a sample before the bench of judges.

The lawyer further asked the court to dismiss his client’s accusation and acquit her.

Citing lack of evidence, presiding judge Ezzat Mansour cleared A.G. Prosecutors have already appealed the primary ruling and a hearing has been scheduled before the Appeal Court soon.

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