|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
December 20, 1999
Khus-khus gets him 10 years in prison
Our Correspondent in Abu Dhabi
Khus-khus is a spice that forms an important part of many curries, biryanis and kormas in India. It is available at your friendly neighbourhood grocery.
But khus-khus seeds have landed Mohammed Abdul Kaleem Bahadur, an Indian commercial artist, in jail for 10 years, and cost him a fine of Dirhams 50,000 (INR 600,000 approx) and deportation.
Bahadur was arrested on August 8, 1996, and was convicted by the Sharia Criminal Court on September 30, 1997. His appeal was rejected in October 1998.
Recently, the Federal High Court, the UAE's highest judicial body, rejected his final appeal and confirmed his sentence.
The court ruled that since the defendant had admitted bringing the unroasted khus-khus seeds -- said to contain opium -- into the country, he should be punished under the law, which states that possessing or planting khus-khus is prohibited in the country.
In his appeal, Bahadur had stated that his conviction by the lower courts was rather harsh and contrary to previous judgements passed for the same offence.
He had stated that since he was not aware that the Indian spice was banned in the UAE, there was no criminal intent.
But for the court, it was not a subject of concern to them that khus-khus, the aromatic fibrous root of an Indian grass, was widely used as a spice in India.
The court ruled that the law maintained that khus-khus contained a drug and forbade planting or bringing of these seeds into the country. The crime was completed as the "drugs" had passed through the customs on their way to the country.
Incidentally, India's Ambassador to the UAE, K C Singh, said the embassy would make a mercy appeal to the UAE authorities since there was no guilty intention on Bahadur's part; he had just made a mistake.
"The regulations of the land are there in place and we fully appreciate and respect the importance they carry," Singh said.
"However, it would appear reasonable to make a distinction between a passenger well-settled and employed in the UAE, travelling with his family and carrying a purported condiment, and a passenger carrying a banned drug in the knowledge that it was an offence, Singh told the media.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK