DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, (AP) – A Dubai court on Thursday sentenced an American to one month in prison after he was charged with stealing a pair of police handcuffs.
The punishment handed down to Adam Foster, 30, was far less than originally feared. The Burdett, New York man had been facing as many as seven years behind bars for the alleged theft from a Dubai police station, according to his lawyer.
A judge in the city-state’s misdemeanor court read out the sentence in Foster’s case, but did not provide details of the guilty verdict. It was not immediately clear if charges against him had been reduced.
Foster’s lawyer Yousuf Hammad had urged the court to accept a lesser charge of finding and failing to report lost property. He also had argued for leniency in the case, saying that Foster had no criminal record and had agreed to turn the handcuffs over to police.
Hammad told The Associated Press he is still waiting for court papers to be filed to get details of the verdict. In the meantime, he said his client would begin serving his sentence immediately.
“He decided to go to jail today,” Hammad said. “I cannot say he was happy, but he accepted the judgment.”
Foster was arrested in February while on a work assignment in Dubai.
He said he found the handcuffs on the ground in shopping mall parking lot and put them in his bag “without really thinking.” A day earlier, he had been questioned by police after security guards at his company’s job site discovered alcohol in his car, according to an account on his Facebook page.
The handcuffs were discovered at the airport as Foster was leaving the country.
Authorities alleged the handcuffs were police property that he had stolen from the police station where he had been questioned earlier.
Court records showed Foster gave police different accounts of what happened. He acknowledges that he signed a confession written in Arabic, but claims he did so under duress after being hit on the feet by a police officer.
Foster could not immediately be reached for comment.