Dubai’s drug laws.

There was a report in Gulf News the other day that deserves wider international coverage. I wonder whether it was picked up by media overseas, because it really is important that people visiting Dubai understand the laws.

The report was regarding the laws in relation to drugs and began:
“Passengers who get caught carrying tiny amounts of drugs in Dubai face between four to fifteen years in jail and cannot escape with a fine as some of them assume, cautioned a judge.”

The judge made the comments after a case in which a Canadian was charged with possessing 0.66 grams of marijuana for personal use.

The suspect pleaded guilty and asked presiding judge Fahmi Mounir to give him a speedy judgement so he could pay a fine.

He said he needed a “fast judgement” and would pay a fine and then leave.

Folks, that isn’t the way it works in Dubai. The law is tough on drug possession – people have even been jailed for having drugs in their blood. They took the drugs before they came to Dubai, obviously aroused the suspicion of officials for some reason, had no drugs on them but the drug was in their blood – so they were guilty of ‘possession’.

Whether you agree with it or not isn’t the point – it’s the law of the land.

The article continues with comments by Appeals Judge Mahmoud Fahmi:

“Some people who come from certain Western or European countries assume that if they get caught with small quantities of drugs “they won’t be jailed but will be fined assuming that drug possession is treated, herein, like in their own countries.”

“The UAE has a special penal code concerning drug crimes and it is considered one of the toughest penal laws in the Middle East. Suspects who are caught carrying any amount of drugs [even tiny quantities] and are charged with possessing drugs for personal use could be jailed between four to fifteen years.”

“Heroin, cocaine, hashish, marijuana and other drugs are categorised among the most dangerous and life-threatening drugs in the UAE. Hence, the suspects [especially those who come from certain Western or European countries] who possess any such drugs will not be fined and let go as in their home countries.”

And it isn’t just those drugs, some medications which can be purchased over-the-counter in other countries are not allowed here.

“A suspect who carries a mind-altering substance as medication might be fined if they fail to prove that it is for treatment,” added Judge Fahmi.

Codeine is one such drug – a doctor’s prescription is required, otherwise it is illegal.

Even the smallest amount of a drug – a few scraps of marijuana in trouser pockets for example, as happened in one recent case, will lead to a jail sentence.

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