A man has been sentenced to death in Qatar and a fine of QR500,000 for smuggling some 600kg of hashish and opium into Qatar on a speedboat, Al Sharq reports.
His accomplice was handed a sentence of life in prison and a fine of QR300,000. Neither nationalities of the men were identified.
Qatar has been cracking down harshly on drug smuggling attempts recently as it struggles against becoming an increasingly popular transit point for trafficking.
According to the newspaper, the prosecutor said the first man was a known drug trafficker who had previously eluded authorities.
He and the second man, from whom he allegedly rented a speedboat under the pretenses of going fishing, were caught by coast guard officials while transporting what appeared to be bags of flour onto an island.
The second man may have been operating under duress, Gulf Times translates:
The latter got suspicious (when asked for help in transporting the bags) and refused to co-operate but the former took out his firearm and threatened to kill him as a result of which the latter had to obey. Then they sailed towards another deserted island and while they were waiting there they were accosted by the coast guards who had been following them on the basis of the intelligence reports…
The judges of the Criminal Court unanimously observed that this harsh verdict to both the accused should serve as a strong deterrent for anyone who may embark on such a dangerous adventure.
It is not clear when the first man, who is supposed to be executed by firing squad or hanging, will serve his death sentence.
According to Amnesty International’s 2012 report on Qatar, at least 19 prisoners were on death row at the end of 2011, three of whom were sentenced that year. But the country has had no reported executions in over a decade.