courts

Drug bust: Dubai prosecutors looking into Australia's extradition request

Dubai Public Prosecution has received the five suspects' extradition requests on Thursday

By Bassam Za’za’, Legal and Court Correspondent
12:31 August 11, 2017
Dubai Public Prosecution

Dubai: Dubai prosecutors are looking into the extradition requests lodged by the Australian authorities against five suspects, who were arrested in Dubai for their involvement in a high-profile international drug racket.

The international drug bust involved Australia, Netherlands and the UAE and began as an operation two years ago before it led to a raid on a Dubai restaurant, in which five suspects, including two Australian brothers, were arrested. 

Police in Dubai, Australia and the Netherlands arrested two organized gangs of 17 [including the five in Dubai] people and seized 1.9 tonnes of narcotics in the raids, Dubai Police said earlier in the week.

Dubai Public Prosecution has received the five suspects' extradition requests on Thursday (August 10), Prosecutor General Ismail Ali Madani, Head of Public Funds Prosecution, confirmed to Gulf News.

"We have already received the extradition requests and currently investigations are ongoing," he said.

"All details, investigation reports and documents are being looked into ... any future and ordinary legal procedures in extradition requests will be enforced as per the laws pertaining to such cases., Madani added.

"We need to look into their accusations based on which they are wanted, study the case files and implement the required legal steps and procedures of extradition requests.

"Dubai Public Prosecution (DPP) is always keen to enlighten the public and create awareness about the dangers and illegal outcomes of corruption cases and that's why we constantly handle such cases with high importance and vigilance," said Madani, who preferred not to divulge further details about the ongoing investigations. 

He said that the media would be and should be updated about the outcome of the investigations through the proper media channels. 

Enquiries conducted by Gulf News have shown that the five men involved in the extradition requests were referred from Dubai Police's anti-narcotics department to the Public Prosecution facing primary charges of possessing mind-altering substances for trafficking purposes in the jurisdiction of Al Rifaa Police Station and that the investigations remain pending. 

The case is being handled by Dubai Attorney General Essam Eisa Al Humaidan’s technical office.  

Extradition request

According to the Criminal Procedures Law, extradition requests are usually investigated by prosecutors, who question the suspects before referring them to the Dubai Appeal Court to look into the extradition request lodged by any external legal authority. 

The law further grants the right to any suspect, facing an extradition request, to appoint a lawyer to defend him or her. 

Once the Appeal Court hands out a decision on whether or not a suspect could be extradited, the law further grants the suspect involved the right to appeal the appellate court's decision before the Dubai Cassation Court within 30 days. 

On the other hand, a chief appeal judge told Gulf News that the extradition request had not been referred to the Dubai Appeal Court by Thursday afternoon.

"Any detained suspect or one who is on bail in Dubai and is facing an extradition request has the full right to appoint a lawyer to defend him or her before the Appeal Court. Besides, and as per the UAE laws, judges look into any extradition request with utmost justice and fairness and work on implementing the law even by considering a suspect's wellbeing and safety in the country requested to be extradited to.

"There have been plenty of cases in which the court rejected extradition requests after the suspects argued in their defences that their lives would be endangered in the hands of the authorities of the countries requesting their extradition ... and there have been plenty of cases in which extraditions were approved and the suspects were handed over to the requesting judicial authorities.

"That is why Dubai Courts handle extradition requests with utmost care," concluded the chief judge. 

A lawyer, who wished not to be named until the suspect appoints him officially, told Gulf News that one of the suspects contacted him to handle his case and challenge the extradition request.

In the drug bust, nine men and a woman were arrested in Sydney while authorities in the Netherlands arrested two men allegedly behind supplying drugs to an Australian-based syndicate.