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Indian jailed in UAE for smuggling poppy seeds

Dubai, July 31 (IANS)- An Indian farmer has been jailed for four years for smuggling poppy seeds into the United Arab Emirates (UAE)though he claimed he brought these for the purpose of cooking, media reported.

The Indian, 33, identified only as B.S., was arrested by customs inspectors on arrival at the Dubai International Airport for possessing poppy seeds found in his luggage in April this year.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the defendant of smuggling and possessing drugs for the purpose of consumption despite his argument that he had brought these for cooking, Gulf News reported Wednesday.

The defendant will be deported following the completion of his jail term.

The man was earlier charged by drugs prosecutors with smuggling and possessing 102.5 gm of poppy seeds for his personal consumption.

During the proceedings in a Dubai court June 10, the man admitted that he brought in the substance with him, but denied he used these as drugs.

"I brought those seeds with me from India, but I did not know that it was banned. Where I come from, we use this for cooking," the report quoted B.S. as saying.

On being asked by the court if he eats it, he said: "Yes sir. we use this like a spice in the sauce and we use it to cook the soup as well. I possessed it for cooking purposes."

He has already appealed his primary judgment and is scheduled to appear before the Appeal Court in Dubai soon.