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US music producer leaves Dubai after pardon -paper

Written by: Staff

DUBAI, July 5 (Reuters) US music producer Dallas Austin left the United Arab Emirates for New York today after being pardoned for a drug offence, a local newspaper reported. Austin, who has worked with stars including Madonna and Michael Jackson, was granted a pardon yesterday hours after a court in the Gulf emirate of Dubai sentenced him to four years in jail for possession of narcotics.

''He (Austin) was ... taken to Dubai airport, escorted by his American legal representatives and business manager, before boarding a morning flight bound for New York,'' the Gulf News Web site quoted police sources as saying.

Local newspapers said on Monday Austin had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine during the trial at the Dubai Court of First Instance. They said he was arrested at Dubai airport on May 19 when police found at least 1.26 grams of the drug and other illegal substances in his possession.

Austin was reportedly flying into Dubai to attend a birthday party for supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Drug trafficking in the UAE carries the death penalty, but in practice executions are rare. Drug smuggling convictions of foreigners often result in a jail term followed by deportation.

Diplomats say Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the UAE and the Gulf region's trade and tourism hub, is a busy route for drug trafficking between Asia and Europe.


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