Charges over 0.002 grams of drug

Two Emiratis face criminal charges for possessing 0.002 grams of hashish, an Abu Dhabi court hears.

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ABU DHABI // Two Emiratis are facing criminal charges for possessing 0.002 grams of hashish, an Abu Dhabi court heard yesterday. Defendants convicted in similar cases have faced up to four years in prison, but a legal exception allows Emiratis to enter a rehabilitation programme in lieu of prison time. Both defendants, MA and BM, are charged with drug possession. BM is also accused of drug use.

MA's defence lawyer, Labeeb Hammad, said his client was innocent. "They arrested him and found nothing, then they searched his home and found nothing, they searched his car and claimed they found 0.002 grams," he said after the hearing. "It's a tiny fleck. You can't even see it." BM is reported to have been arrested on the strength of a tip-off to the police anti-narcotics department. A urine test showed traces of the drug, which BM said he had acquired from MA.

A search of a car that MA was using uncovered the hashish, police said. Salwa Habib, BM's defence lawyer, said that her client admitted to drug use, but that his urine test was inconclusive because it did not show the amount of drugs in his system. She said she would seek the rehabilitation exception for her client. Mr Hammad said BM had turned in his client because they had fallen out after MA tipped off the police about one of BM's friends, who had drugs.

He also said the car in which the hashish was found belonged to his client's brother and had been impounded after an accident shortly before the arrest. The judge will issue his verdict on August 23.