The United Arab Emirates is one of the countries that hands down capital punishment against drug offenders. Although death sentences are frequently commuted to life sentences, every now and then, a person will be condemned to death for drug trafficking offenses.
Drug trafficking or promotion in the UAE is punishable by death. Recently, an Emirati drug dealer was sentenced to death for possessing and trafficking 18kg of heroin. According to 7 Days, the 7DAYSinDubai website, the lawbreaker was caught in possession and smuggling the narcotics (following a tip-off received by Abu Dhabi Police); he was arrested in his car and taken away in handcuffs to jail to await trial.
The guilty party said he smuggled the heroin from another GCC country into the UAE with intentions on taking the drugs himself. This was reinstated by the Emirati’s defense lawyer who told the court in a recent trial the drugs were to treat the defendants mental illnesses, which he apparently had had since 2006. However, a report from a medical committee appointed by the court to examine the alleged illness confirmed that the Emirate man had been treated and cured already.
A judge at Abu Dhabi Criminal Court ordered the drug dealer to be sentenced to death, in accordance with the UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law. Meanwhile, he is serving six months in jail for illegal possession of a loaded gun that Abu Dhabi police found on him when caught.
In UAE, a death penalty can be appealed within 14 days of issuing the sentence. In his plea, the drug dealer claims he was not aware of his actions. Yet, the prosecutors claim he was aware of his actions at the time he committed the crimes.
To date, a number of people have been sentenced to death for drug offences, with a few executed on drug charges. Executions are normally enforced according to Islamic sharia law, which, in some cases, however, does not prevent judicial mitigation.
In recent years, death sentences and executions have not been frequent in the UAE, as there has been an upward trend indicating problems in enforcing drug and alcohol laws among the UAE’s predominantly foreign population. However, the death penalty is imposed for drug trafficking.
Last November, an Asian man was convicted of smuggling 1.5 kg of Marijuana into UAE; he was sentenced to death in Abu Dhabi. In another case, the UAE court system sentenced an Arab defendant to four years in prison on charges of possessing hashish while a third defendant was acquitted, as evidence of the narcotics was not presented in the trial.
It does not matter how old or young offenders are; they will be judged, as the 22-year-old Afghan drug dealer who was accused of selling drugs in Abu Dhabi (back in 2010) found out; he was given the death penalty by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance. From the International Business Times, and The Daily Telegraph of Britain, we also learn of two Britain drug dealers aged 21 and 19, who attempted to sell 20 grams of marijuana for about $400 to a local UAE policeman and were given jail sentences. A 17-year-old, Emirati was ordered to undergo rehabilitation.
In sum, Abu Dhabi strictly forbids (and sometimes severely punishes) those (of any age and nationality) having anything to do with drugs. Capital punishment is a possibility for those found guilty of serious criminal acts.