British cancer patient denies marijuana use

UK man, acquitted earlier of taking drugs in the UAE and carrying illegal pills, testified before an appeals court yesterday.

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ABU DHABI // A man denied using marijuana yesterday, saying he was a recovering cancer patient who did not smoke.

The Briton LW appeared before the appeals court, where prosecutors were contending a not-guilty verdict for consuming or carrying illegal drugs in the UAE that was issued at the court of first instance.

The man was in Sri Lanka for 14 weeks before flying to the Emirates on his way to the UK, and said he may have taken medication while there. He said he was a recovering cancer patient and did not smoke for medical reasons.

He was arrested at a UAE airport on April 3 after Tramadol tablets were found in his bag. He had planned to stay in the country for three days before heading back to the UK for medical treatment.

He said the Tramadol had been prescribed in the UK but police arrested him, saying he had no proof.

The Briton spent two-and-a-half weeks in prison awaiting trial, during which time he secured the prescription for Tramadol from the UK, which led to an acquittal at the court of first instance.

"I went to Baniyas to pick up my passport, then they told me there was another case against me," said the man. "I was not allowed to take my passport then."

He said he was shocked when he heard the word "hashish", and it was the first time he had heard this accusation.

"I did not take marijuana, I am a recovering cancer patient," he told the judge. "I do not smoke, I only came here on transit."

The judge wanted to adjourn the case until September, but the Briton objected, saying he was ill and that he had "no money and no medication".

He said he had missed several medical appointments in the UK during his three months in the UAE awaiting a decision.

LW said the British Embassy was unable to help and was only concerned about his welfare while in prison. The case was adjourned until July 18.