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Father fined for dodging travel ban to save sick son

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A father, who bribed an airport officer to elude a travel ban to meet his leukaemia-stricken son and facilitate his treatment, lost his appeal and will pay a Dh60,000 fine.

In September, the Dubai Court of First Instance handed the Palestinian father a three-month jail term for paying Dh120,000 in bribe to an Emirate airport officer to avoid a travel ban twice and fly out to facilitate two bone marrow transplants for his nine-year-old son [who died last year].

The Emirati officer was jailed for a year and fined Dh120,000.

The Palestinian defendant appealed his primary judgement and sought to have a reduced punishment.

Meanwhile prosecutors appealed the same judgement before the Appeal Court and sought to have the punishment stiffened.

The appellate court’s presiding judge overturned the primary ruling and handed the Palestinian father a three-month suspended imprisonment and fined him Dh60,000.

According to the appeal judgement, the defendant was also handed a deportation order.

The Palestinian’s lawyer argued in court that his client acted upon ‘fatherly and humane’ grounds when he bribed the officer to dodge his travel ban and fly out to facilitate the bone marrow transplants for his cancer-stricken son.

The convicted businessman told the court that he paid Dh120,000 in bribes to the officer to help him avoid all security checks at Dubai International Airport so he could fly to Beirut and Amman, for the treatment of his son.

The Palestinian had not been able to fly out of the country with a pending bounce cheque case against him but, once he realised that his son needed two urgent operations (bone marrow transplants), he bribed the officer to be able to fly out to provide stem cells to help with his son’s treatment, said records.

The Emirati officer denied the charges of bribery and having abetted the Palestinian dodge the travel ban.

The Palestinian had issued the cheque against a loan that he took to pay for his son’s medication, said the lawyer.

“Informed by doctors that his stem cells were the only ones that matched those of his son, my client was under immense pressure to travel abroad to save his son’s life. This is a very scarce and humane case of its kind. The defence is pleading to your hearts and conscience to treat my client with utmost compassion and acquit him of his wrongdoing. He is a father who was just trying to help his son, who was on death bed … and later died,” the lawyer contended before the appeal court.

Records said the Palestinian paid the Emirati officer Dh60,000 each on two occasions to help him dodge security checks at the airport between September and December 2016.

Law enforcement officers apprehended the Palestinian businessman after he returned from his second trip.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 28 days.

Gulf News

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