Briton, Syrian sentenced to death in UAE

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2012 7:19 AM
Briton, Syrian sentenced to death in UAE

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - A British citizen has been sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates, the British embassy in Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday, after he and a Syrian national were convicted of selling drugs to an undercover policeman.

The English-language The National newspaper said that a court in Abu Dhabi on Monday found the 21-year-old Briton and the 19-year-old Syrian man guilty of selling marijuana worth 1,500 dirhams ($410) to the policeman.

They both received the death penalty and have the right to appeal the sentence under UAE laws.

"A British national is facing the death penalty in the United Arab Emirates," the British embassy's information office told Reuters, without providing further details on the case.

"We will remain in close contact with the gentleman and his legal representation, and will continue to provide the appropriate consular assistance," they added.

In London, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said it had been in touch with UAE officials, but could not get involved in the country's judicial process.

Officials at the Syrian embassy were not available for comment and telephone calls to the prosecutor's office in Abu Dhabi were not answered.

There is zero tolerance for drug-related offences in the United Arab Emirates, a regional business hub and tourist destination, where millions of expatriates live and work, with severe penalties for drug trafficking and possession.

But executions are rare in the UAE, which maintains that its judiciary is independent.

($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)

(Reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky, additional reporting by Mohammed Abbas in London, editing by Sami Aboudi and Diana Abdallah)