Elderly man charged with practising sorcery for profit (Dubai)

Bassam Za’za’, Gulf News, 5 Aug. 2011

Dubai: An 82-year-old suspect denied in court yesterday the charge of practising sorcery to profit illegally and claimed that he only reads Quran to cure patients.

Prosecutors charged the elderly defendant, M.S., who doesn’t carry personal identification documents, with practising sorcery and performing magic to gain money unlawfully.

M.S.’s lawyer Abdullah Al Taher argued at Dubai Appeal Court yesterday that his client was innocent.

“My client has never practised sorcery or magic. He is an elderly man who has been living in the UAE for 50 years. He is famous for reading verses from the Quran to cure patients but he doesn’t and has never practised sorcery,” he said before Presiding Judge Mustafa Al Shennawi in courtroom 17.

Talismans

The court heard the statements of two defence witnesses. One, aged 49, said: “M.S. is my relative and I’ve known him since I was eight. Patients come from distant places and visit him so he could read for them Quran and cure their diseases. Patients who used to visit him where the ones who wrote the talismans… M.S. did not write any Quranic verses on the talismans which were confiscated by the police.”

In March, the Dubai Misdemeanours Court jailed M.S. to one year followed by deportation.

Another defence witness testified in court yesterday: “The defendant is my relative. I’ve never heard that he practised sorcery or dealt with magic. Patients visited him at home and [he] cured them by reading verses from the Holy Book. He never wrote any talismans, but the patients did.”

Al Taher said police raided his client’s house without a warrant. “The court should dismiss the case because the law enforcement procedures were carried out unlawfully against M.S. Dubai Police’s forensic report confirmed the Quranic verses which were written on the confiscated talismans were not written with blood… but they were written with red ink. This invalidates the technical evidence submitted against my client,” he said.

The lawyer further asked the court to treat his elderly client with leniency.

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