Engineers 'took illegal photos of embassy'

Three men are charged with taking pictures of the Qatari Embassy.

ABU DHABI // Three men charged with taking illegal photos of the Qatari Embassy argued they were actually photographing the nearby Capital Gate tower, the State Security Court heard yesterday.

The tower, in front of the embassy and adjacent to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, has a unique leaning structure.

None of the defendants were identified. The first said he was only accompanying the other two men and did not take any photos, while the second said he took photos of the tower only.

The judge then showed him the picture in question, and the second man admitted taking it, but said he was not aiming at the embassy.

The third defendant said he was going to take pictures but realised it was a no-photo zone and did not.

Their lawyer said the three were engineers and often took pictures of any spectacular buildings they saw. He also asked to photocopy the case files and prepare his defence.

The case was adjourned until Monday.

A few weeks ago, a foreign man faced charges of taking photos of the General Armed Forces headquarters, located opposite Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The man argued that he was taking photos of the mosque and did not know the military facility was there. He was fined Dh300.

Similarly, a few months ago a Korean architect was fined Dh500 for taking photos of the Syrian and Iranian embassies.