Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif freed, to leave Dubai Thursday night (Lead)June 19th, 2008 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS
By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, June 19 (IANS) Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif, held here since June 1 for allegedly possessing drugs when on his way home from Mumbai after playing in the Indian Premier League, will be freed and leave Dubai late Thursday night. “The authorities here have taken a decision to release Asif and he will be leaving Dubai later today,” an official in the Pakistan embassy in Abu Dhabi told IANS Thursday evening.
“The process of releasing him from the detention centre is on,” he said.
The cricketer was lodged in the Dubai International Airport in the period of detention.
Reports in the local media quoted Dubai public prosecutor Mohammad Al Nuaimi as saying that the cricketer would be discharged and deported.
Al Nuaimi told the Gulf News that Asif “has been discharged and will be deported from his Dubai detention centre within the next 48 hours”.
No charge was filed against the cricketer in the 19 days he was held here.
Meanwhile, The National newspaper quoted Al Nuaimi as saying that the public prosecution had not decided to file charges due to “lack of importance to the case”.
“The case is now with the Dubai police who will start deportation procedures,” he said.
The 25-year-old fast bowler was detained by customs authorities at the Dubai International Airport June 1 for allegedly possessing drugs.
He was on his way back to Lahore via Dubai from Mumbai where he had played the Indian Premier League (IPL) semifinal for Delhi Daredevils against eventual tournament winners Rajasthan Royals May 30.
Dubai airport customs authorities handed him over to the drugs unit of Dubai Police June 3 and sent his blood and urine samples as well as the drugs found on him for laboratory tests.
The results of the tests were received June 5 and Asif recorded his statement at the office of the chief prosecutor the same day.
Quoting unnamed sources, media reports here had said that the blood and urine samples of the cricketer tested negative and the substance found on Asif was opium.
“We got the lab results on the substance found in Asif’s possession … and we identified it as being 0.24 gm of opium,” chief prosecutor Mohammed Ali Rustom was quoted as saying.
“When arrested, the suspect said he took the substance to give him energy and said he left this small amount in his wallet by accident,” he added.
Dubai’s chief prosecutor completed his hearing of the cricketer’s case June 8 and then referred it to the attorney general.
Rustom said blood tests did not show Asif had taken any illegal drugs and denied his arrest was the result of a possible tip-off.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier backed the player, saying he was innocent till formally charged by the UAE authorities.
It also hired the services of a local legal firm, Angel & Afridi, to aid the cricketer.