A Swedish male model and TV personality who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in Dubai for possessing cocaine, has launched an online campaign appealing for his sentence to be reduced.
Farzan Athari, a 29-year-old Swedish-Iranian, was originally sentenced to life in jail after he was arrested outside his home in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa on May 14, 2013 and found in possession of 21 grams of cocaine in 11 plastic pouches. His sentence was reduced to 10 years upon appeal, claiming the illegal drug was for personal use and was not for resale purposes.
Athari has since launched an online campaign calling for his release and has issued a song entitled ‘Save My Life’. Recording while in prison in Dubai and directed towards Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the video has so far received over 25,000 views on Youtube.
Campaigners have launched a petition calling for his sentence to be reviewed. “I am not a promoter or dealer of any illegal substance… You’re always responsible for your actions. I agree, and I admit that it was the biggest mistake of my life to put myself in a situation like this and to get fooled by a so-called ‘friend’,” he said in a letter published online.
In court, an Emirati police officer testified that an informant had given them a tip-off that Athari possessed drugs and was searching for a buyer.
“Drugs prosecutors authorised us on May 14 to arrest the defendant and search his residence. An informant alerted us that the defendant was present in front of a hotel in Bur Dubai… an anti-narcotics squad headed to the location and busted the suspect. We seized the cocaine in his pocket. During confrontation, the suspect admitted that he possessed the drugs for promotional purposes,” the police lieutenant testified.
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