Riyaz was jailed after identification records were mixed up with those of a criminal
Abu Dhabi: Mohammad Riyaz, the 27-year-old Indian communication engineer, arrested and jailed in a case of mistaken identity, has been declared innocent by a court in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf News broke the story of Riyaz, who was arrested at Abu Dhabi airport and held in Al Wathba jail for more than a week after being mistaken for a wanted man. He was forced to fight for his case at the court to prove that he was not the person wanted by the police.
On Tuesday, the court in Abu Dhabi declared Riyaz innocent. “I was overwhelmed to hear the judge say that I’m innocent. I did not do anything wrong,” Riyaz told Gulf News.
Riyaz’s ordeal started when Abu Dhabi Police mistakenly linked his identification records with those of a man (with a completely different name), who was deported from the UAE for crimes committed 11 years ago. A Dubai Police official said that Mohammad Ali Mohammad, the deported man whose records were linked with Riyaz’s, committed several crimes in the UAE, including sexual harassment and robbery.
He was deported 11 years ago after served a jail sentence.
Riyaz was arrested on October 20 at Abu Dhabi Airport while on his way back to the UAE after a vacation. Police took Riyaz into custody where he claims they shaved his head and treated him like a criminal.
Riyaz said that he suffered a lot in the past three months. “I just found myself in this situation which I was not able to get rid of. I have to fight at courts to prove I’m not the deported person,” he said.
Riyaz holds a Bachelor’s degree in engineering electronics and communication.
Talking about his ordeal, Riyaz said: “When I was arrested I thought I was being wrongly identified and that the police will sort out the case. Instead, I was arrested and taken to jail.
“I told police that I was a 16-year-old studying in India when the man committed his crimes. The deported man was born in 1971 and I’m only 27.”
The Abu Dhabi Residency department said that the General Department of Electronic and Communication Services at the Ministry of Interior has to remove Riyaz’s file that they have wrongly attached to the data of the deported person.
Riyaz said he came to the UAE for the first time on March 20 and joined work as an information system consultant in Abu Dhabi on the same day.
“I went home on October 8 for Eid vacation and I came back on October 20 to be detained at the airport and sent to prison,” he said. “When I remember how they shaved my head in the jail and how I was handcuffed and legs chained I feel sad and frustrated,” he said.