Man appeals 80 lashes for drinking alcohol in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI // A man sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking alcohol told the appeals court today that he hit a policeman because the officer hit him first.

MH, from Morocco, told the court that the two policemen who claimed he swore at one of them and assaulted the other one were trying to "oppress" him. But Dr Khairi Al Kabbash, the head of the court, laughed at the claim. "Why would they choose you out of all of Abu Dhabi residents?" asked the judge. "They are the police, they are the symbol of the state, how can you hit one and swear at another?"

The man insisted that one of the officers had slapped him first and that he decided not to complain.

"No - you should complain and public prosecution will do you justice, but you don't go around attacking the cops," replied the judge.

The man is appealing the criminal court's sentences of 80 lashes for drinking alcohol, as well as his fines of Dh3,000 for swearing and another Dh3,000 for the assault.

The appeal court is expected to announce a verdict on August 12.

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