A British father of three named Keith Brown has been sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of possessing .003 grams of cannabis. The man, a council youth development officer, was going through Customs at the Dubai Airport, and apparently had the marijuana particle– smaller than a grain of sugar– stuck to his shoe.
Brown is a Rastafarian who was returning from a visit to his family in Ethiopia. He was imprisoned in September of 2007 but sentenced only this week. UAE officials say he will be deported after serving his four-year sentence.
Mr. Brown isn’t the only one to feel the wrath of Dubai’s draconian drug laws. Last month, charges against a German national were finally dropped after the man spent six weeks behind bars. His crime? Trying to pass through customs with .03 grams of hash in his bag. That’s about the size of a speck of dirt, and the man claimed he never knowingly possessed the hash.
The drugs, though invisible to the human eye, are detectable in customs using high-tech equipment, and customs officials are reportedly given a bonus for each arrest. Dubai’s drug laws were changed in 2006 so that the possession of even the most miniscule amount of a drug is considered possession.
Well, it’s at least nice to hear that Dubai doesn’t have any actual crime to worry about.