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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Mistaken identity costs man five days in prison 
Indian man arrested at Sharjah airport because his name matched another Indian blacklisted for defaulting on an etisalat bill amounting to Dh 37,000

ABU DHABI - APRIL 15: In yet another case of mistaken identity, an Indian man was detained at the Sharjah Airport and taken into custody for five days after his name figured amongst the blacklisted ones at the immigration counter.

Ironically, the man Kharim Nazar Kharim was not even present in the country in 2003, when the name made it to the blacklist. It was after being booked that Nazar got to know the reason he was being detained for. An Indian with the same name had left the country in 2003 without clearing a Dh 37,000 etisalat bill.

Explaining that he came in to the country only in 2005 did no good to Nazar, nor the fact that his passport particulars were totally different from that of the man blacklisted on the immigration records.
Narrating his ordeal, Nazar said, “On Friday, April 6, I was leaving to my home country on 30 days leave. However, I was shocked upon realizing at the immigration counter that I will not be able to travel that night as promised to my wife in Kerala (India). I had already checked in my luggage at the airport.”
After being detained at the airport, the police officials arrived early Saturday morning and Nazar was taken to the Sharjah jail. However, the case being registered in Abu Dhabi which meant that he had to be taken to the Shariah Court in Abu Dhabi before being released to freedom.

“Since Saturday was an official holiday, the trip to the capital did not happen. And to my ill luck the officials did not take me to the court on Sunday or Monday,” he said. Finally, after Nazar’s relatives in Sharjah ran from pillar to post he was taken to the court on Tuesday. “Upon seeing my documents the first thing that the judge asked me was whether the immigration personnel checked my passport and all the particulars as it had nothing in common with the man who was blacklisted. The only reason I was jailed was because my name matched with the person, who left the country even before I came,”
Explaining that this could happen to anyone, Nazar said that the mental trauma and strain he went through will not heal anytime soon in the future. “I was chained and taken as though I was a wanted criminal. And to someone who has never gone against the law, this is a very painful experience,” he said.

“The judge even apologised to me, but will I get back those 5 days that I spent behind the bars,” asked Nazar. The court then issued a document following which he was released from the Mina Police station. “I don’t know how many days I would have been jailed if it was not for my relatives who helped me in this crisis situation,” said Nazar. “I lost the air ticket since I could not travel that night and somehow seeing my plight, I was issued another ticket by which I am travelling tonight,” he said before travelling to India on Thursday night.

Commenting the issue of innocent people being detained over no crime, but their names, an official said that this is not an uncommon issue and no one could be blamed over this because many Indians have common names. If the name is in the blacklist then the officials will detain him/her. Only the nationality and names are checked at the counters. Verifying can be done only later by the CID.

Name spells trouble

The Evening Post had reported months ago a similar ordeal of Mathew Thomas, another Indian, who was arrested over mistaken identity five times, that is each time he tried to leave or enter the country. Thomas was even told that he had AIDS and had to do relevant tests several times to prove to the authorities that he was being mistaken for another man with the same name.


Rules set for using space on pavement

DUBAI — APRIL 15: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has laid down rules for restaurants, cafes, hotels and Automated Vending Machines (AVMs) occupying space on pavements.

According to Order No 1/2006 issued by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Executive Council regarding occupancy of pavements and external areas of commercial buildings and outlets in Dubai, Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and CEO of RTA, announced an administrative decision detailing the internal regulations pertinent to the above order.

On April 7, Khaleej Times highlighted the issue in a report.

As per the decision, companies and outlets registered in the emirate and carrying out commercial or economic activities need to apply to the Parking and Roads Fees Department for a permit for occupying road pavement.

For restaurants and cafes on pavements, the decision calls for leaving space, not less than two metres, for pedestrians.  “The Parking and Road Fees Department may, however, increase this space if the roads applied for have been specified for holding festivities in the emirate or if the roads are used by a large number of pedestrians,” says the order.

It also adds that for decorations or barriers, the decision stipulates that “they shall not be affixed to the pavement, nor exceed one metre in height, nor cover the occupancy area in full”.

It also stipulates that placing seats, tables and umbrellas should not affect the general safety of pedestrians.

“No type of mat or carpeting will be used to cover the occupied area. No poles exceeding one metre in height will be erected thereon and no lamps will be installed other than on some roads specified by the Parking Department.

The decision also stipulated that no TV sets, or any other display systems, are to be put in occupied areas on pavements or anywhere else in such a way that that might affect traffic safety. No statues, symbols or similar devices are to be put on occupied areas that can inconvenience pedestrians.

For Automatic Vending Machines (AVMs), the order states that they must be placed on suitable locations and at a sufficient distance as specified by the Parking and Road Fees Department. “Placing of such machines shall not lead to obstructing the vision or affecting traffic safety.”


Worker crushed to death by truck

ABU DHABI — APRIL 15: A man was crushed to death by a truck at the loading/unloading yard of the Abu Dhabi airport yesterday, police said.

According to Rashid Humaid, Acting Director of the Investigation and Serious Accidents Division of the Patrols and Traffic Section, the incident took place at 8am.   A driver of Asian origin, while reversing his truck, failed to notice that a labourer was standing behind the vehicle. The truck knocked down the worker who died on the spot.

The body of the worker, also an Asian, was taken to the hospital for autopsy. Police have begun to investigate the accident.

In another accident, two drivers were injured when their trucks collided with each other near Al Bahia flyover on the road to Abu Dhabi around 3.45pm yesterday.   One of the trucks was loaded with unfilled gas cylinders, police said.  The injured were taken to Al Rahba Hospital for treatment.


Murder accused referred to prosecution

DUBAI — APRIL 15: Dubai Police have referred to the Public Prosecution two Indians — Kumar S, 43, and Savio R, 34 — charged with murdering a 32-year-old Indian labourer working with a contracting company.

The decomposed body of the Indian labourer, Lal D, was found by the police in a deserted area in Jebel Ali in February.

A month later, the police arrested Kumar from a labour camp, located a few miles from where the body was found.


Schools cautioned over holding events

DUBAI — APRIL 15: Minister of Education Dr Hanif Hassan yesterday asked school administrations to strictly follow security procedures while organising events in schools.

He said students’ safety is the top priority and school administrations should not arrange for any games or activities that may pose danger to students.

The minister was visiting a student of the Al Haira Secondary School in Sharjah, Kholoud Mohamed Al Hawsany, in the Al Qasimi Hospital.

He was injured when he fell off his motorbike while taking part in a show on the school premises. The school management allowed him to use the motorbike for the event.

The Minister of Education had also spoken to Minister of Health Humaid Al Qutami about the need to equip clinics in schools with medical supplies so that they can cope with any accident that may occur on school premises.


Sharjah - Toddler is recovering

Sharjah - APRIL 15: Two-year-old Haris, who was hospitalised after his mother threw him from the eighth floor of their burning apartment building, is now out of danger, family sources said yesterday. The boy who has been on a ventilator for the past four days can now breathe by himself and is also able to recognise his family.  “He opened his eyes and can also hear us speak. However, he cannot yet talk since he is still in a state of shock,” said a relative. Haris also has a fractured leg and doctors said that his complete recovery will take more than a month.

After the fire broke out, Hasan’s mother Zaibulnissa threw him and his brother, Areeb, from their apartment window as she feared they would be burned alive. Four-year-old Areeb died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the fall.


Dubai - Vicious assault

Dubai - APRIL 15: A woman was left writhing in pain last week after her female employer allegedly grabbed a steam iron and burned her back with it. “I tried to avoid being hit by the iron but she continued beating me with it,” the 23-year-old Filipina maid, identified as AL, said. She arrived at the consulate on April 11 and was immediately taken to Dubai Hospital for treatment.

There were three large scald burn marks on the lower middle part of her back, which revealed that a spray and steam iron was used to hit her repeatedly. “It all started when she accused me of wrongly ironing her dress which got ruined,” AL said. And when she then asked to be returned to her employment agency things soon got worse. “My madame said that she will send me back to the agency if I pay dhs5,000,” she said. “Then she began to hit me with the iron.”

AL is due to return to the Philippines tomorrow after the matter was settled at the police station at the end of last week, according to a Philippines Consulate officer. Two days after the incident allegedly took place, her employer’s husband arrived at the consulate in an attempt to settle the issue.  He denied allegations that his wife had hit the maid and initially offered just dhs200 as compensation for the burns she endured.

Following negotiations, an offer of dhs1,000 and an airline ticket was agreed upon. Consulate officers then took AL to Rashidiya police station to confront her employer. According to Zeny Alonzo, a senior officer at the Philippine consulate in Dubai, the female employer continued to vehemently denied causing the burns.



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