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Couple Pays Heavily for Sponsored Trip, Stuck in Qatar Jail For More Than a Year Over Drug Charges

The couple have been imprisoned for over a year in Qatar for carrying illegal drugs. (Image for representation)

The couple have been imprisoned for over a year in Qatar for carrying illegal drugs. (Image for representation)

The couple have been imprisoned for over a year in Qatar for carrying illegal drugs after they were duped by Shareeq’s paternal aunt Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi who handed them a bag which she said contained tobacco.

A Mumbai-couple was not expecting that their second-honeymoon to Qatar will end-up in a cruel way, but that is what has happened with Mohammad Shareeq and Oniba Qureshi who took a trip.

The couple have been imprisoned for over a year in Qatar for carrying illegal drugs after they were duped by Shareeq’s paternal aunt Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi who handed them a bag which she said contained tobacco. The tragedy was multiplied after Oniba discovered that she was pregnant and gave birth to her first child Ayat Qureshi in March this year in jail.

The couple was coaxed by the paternal aunt Tabassum to go on a second honeymoon in order to secretly deliver the drugs through their luggage. The young couple was forced to travel to Bengaluru and catch their flight from the Kempegowda International Airport last year in July. Before leaving, Tabassum handed them a bag which she said contained tobacco. She assured them that someone will collect the bag once they checked into their hotel room in Qatar, as reported by News18 Malayalam.

However, as most of the drug mules get caught at airports, especially in Middles East, the couple was met with the same fate. On July 6, 2019, the local drug enforcement agency searched their bag and found 4.1 kilograms of hashish inside. Even though the couple pleaded for their innocence, the Supreme Judiciary Council of Qatar found them guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment in December last year.

The couple’s family back in Mumbai is devastated and feels guilty for not stopping them from taking this unnecessary trip. The couple had married in May 2018 and had gone to Bangkok for their honeymoon. Shareeq, who was an administrative consultant with the Japanese financial technology firm Hyosung, was due to be promoted before his arrest while Oniba had quit her job as an assistant manager with a private company in Mumbai post-marriage.

Both Shareeq and Oniba’s families have sought the help of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Union Home Minister and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for their children. Oniba’s father, Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi also filed a complaint with NCB against Tabassum and her associate Nizam Kara on September 27, 2019.

The NCB tracked down Kara on October 14, 2020, who admitted to having set up the innocent couple, said NCB Deputy Director KPS Malhotra. The government investigative agencies are gathering more evidence to prove the innocence of the couple and with the help of Indian Embassy in Qatar are going to assist the families’ appeal against the conviction.


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