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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mumbai couple acquitted in Qatar drug case return home to India

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Qatari authorities exonerated the couple at the end of March after a Court of Cassation’s ruling.

Oniba and Sharique Qureshi landed at Mumbai airport at 2:30am on Thursday after being acquitted of all charges in a drug smuggling case in Qatar, Indian media reported.

The Mumbai couple were arrested at Hamad International Airport [HIA] in 2019 after Qatari customs found 4.1kg of hashish in their luggage. They received a 10-year prison sentence.

The couple were in Qatar on a trip that was sponsored and paid by Sharique’s aunt, Tabassum Qureshi, who insisted on sending them to Doha as a “second honeymoon” – only to use them as a tool to smuggle the drugs.

Tabassum was finally arrested after the victim’s families found several recorded conversations in which she mentioned drugs that were referred to as “gutkha”, a chewable tobacco that is banned in Qatar.

Read also: Qatar exonerates Mumbai couple framed by aunt in drug case

Shareef Qureshi, the husband’s father, spent 15 months in Qatar in an attempt to appeal the court’s initial decision, which was rejected on January 27th, 2020.

The Court of Cassation then reviewed the case once more to find that the couple did not have criminal intent and were unaware about the hashish, describing the Court of Appeal’s ruling as “defective”.

Speaking to local Indian outlets, Oniba’s mother said the family is “very happy and relieved.”


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