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Mon 17 Nov 2014 02:34 PM

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Former US soldier appeals 7-yr jail sentence for importing tramadol

Soldier says his mother sent the painkillers to help deal with shrapnel injury sustained during the Gulf War

Former US soldier appeals 7-yr jail sentence for importing tramadol
Photo for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

A former US soldier who was jailed for seven years after his mother sent banned painkillers to him in the mail has appealed the sentence.

According to a report by 7Days newspaper that the 43-year-old, who fought in the Gulf War, was sentenced to seven years in prison and issued with a AED50,000 fine after a package of 592 tramadol tablets was intercepted by Dubai Customs.

The American had moved to the UAE to find work and was sent the package of tablets after he told his mother that he was struggling without the full dose of medication prescribed by doctors in the US. His lawyer told the court that his client was unaware this his mother would send the drugs via post.

The man’s lawyer, Saeed Al Gelani, told the court that his client suffers from severe pain due to shrapnel stuck in his body, after a bomb exploded on him during the Gulf War in Kuwait.

“In that time a bomb exploded on him and shrapnel and nails struck his body, causing a broken pelvis,” said Al Gelani.

“They [surgeons] used platinum to fix his pelvis but he suffers massive pain due to that and to the shrapnel that is lodged in his body. In the United States he had a prescription for a strong painkiller like tramadol and was taking it on a daily basis, until he came to Dubai recently to look for a job.

“He went to clinics in the UAE to ask to be given tramadol legally and they gave him the drug with a prescription. He was taking seven pills of tramadol every day just to handle the pain.”

Al Gelani added that the ex-soldier’s mother sent the tramadol, supplied to her by the US health ministry, as a surprise for her son.

The package was intercepted and Dubai Police charged him with importing illegal painkillers.

The appeal was adjourned until later this month, when a verdict will be issued.