'His agent asked him to carry two parcels': Hyderabad man jailed in Qatar for smuggling drugs
A Hyderabad man has been jailed in Doha in Qatar after airport officials found him allegedly carrying drugs.
The man, identified as Shaik Sikander, landed in the middle-eastern country in search of a job in June this year, and claimed that his agent had handed him two packets as he was leaving India.
The family has now appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for help.
Speaking to ANI, Sikander's mom, Sajida Begum, said, "He (Sikander) was very interested to work in a foreign country. When he left to Qatar two months ago; the agent handed him two packets that needed to be delivered to someone in Qatar. And they would come and collect it from him."
"My son believed him and carried it along; when he landed there the airport authorities caught him and found that he was carrying cannabis. He was instantly detained and currently in Qatar Jail. I would request External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene in the matter and rescue him," she added.
The family has also appealed to Telangana Minister for NRI affairs, K T Rama Rao, to intervene in the issue.
This is not the first such incident to occur to a Hyderabad-based man. 25-year-old Habeeb Mohammed from Chandrayangutta was arrested from Dubai airport in October last year.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle in January this year, Habeeb's brother, Abdul Qadeer said, "The parcel which my brother was carrying was given to him by our neighbour. The neighbour told him that the box had medicines and a cousin will pick it from Dubai airport. But after Habeeb’s arrest, the neighbour is absconding. The man who was supposed to pick up the parcel is also missing.”
Habeeb was carrying a strip of Lyrica 150 mg tablets, which are banned in Dubai.
“The airport authorities who detained him say that the medicines which he was carrying with him were illegal medicines and those specific drugs had been banned in their country. But my brother was unaware of the medicines or that particular rule," he told DC.
In June this year, Habeeb was granted bail after a court had sentenced him to seven years imprisonment with a fine of 50,000 dirhams, along with a life ban on his entry into Dubai, TOI reported. Despite this, Habeeb has to stay in Dubai, until his trial is completed.
The MEA has already identified and addressed this problem in its list of guidelines:
Drug peddlers are utilizing their agents at Indian airports, who approach unsuspecting Indian passengers to carry small parcels like eatables/ jar of pickle/ dry fruits/ homemade dishes etc. aimed to deliver the package to their contact in the middle-east, with a request to adjust it with one’s baggage. They generally avoid giving details of person to whom the item is to be delivered to, saying the person concerned will himself come and collect it.
Further, monetary temptation such as sharing of ticket expenditure/ extra luggage charges or facilitation on arrival at Kuwait by any stranger against carrying parcel should be avoided.
The Embassy would like to re-emphasize taking precautions so that one does not become a drug carrier. One should strictly avoid accepting any packet or gift from strangers at airport. Even if the person is known, never take a parcel without checking what is inside. Also, always remain attentive so that drug dealers do not hide drugs in your luggage at the airport. Always please get your luggage sealed at the airport and never leave your luggage unattended.