Down the rabbit hole and into an Arab jail
I guarantee you that every single drug dealer in the entire world who read this story laughed his ass off.
Bert Tatham, 35, who advised the Afghan government on eradicating opium poppy crops, was arrested in April during a layover at Dubai International Airport while en route to Canada from Afghanistan.
The Vancouver resident was caught with 0.6 grams of hashish and two poppy bulbs, and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment last week. His lawyer is expected to appeal the sentence handed down Tuesday.
The prison sentence is a "cruel reward" for the dangerous work his son did in Kandahar, his father said.
Bert Tatham worked as a consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and as an adviser to the Afghan government's poppy elimination program.
The poppy bulbs his son was carrying could not be used for opium production, as they had been harvested several years ago, he said.
"He was bringing those home for show-and-tell, basically," Tatham added.
As for the hashish, Tatham says his son is "mystified" as to how such a tiny amount became lodged in the seam of his pants.
"It is ubiquitous in Kandahar area and he was involved occasionally in the burning of drugs, and it was passed around socially as far as we know," he said.
Most stories I read where someone says "it wasn't my stuff!" make the needle on my Cynic-O-Meter redline in an instant. How can you have drugs on you by accident?
Except in this guy's case, where it's completely plausible. He was involved with both the United Nations and the Afghan government in confiscating and burning poppies and hashish. I'll make you a bet that if you had tested Canadian soldiers for trace amounts of marijuana in their system after their adventures last fall, they might have run into problems with the Dubai judiciary as well.
If evidence surfaces next week that Tatham was masterminding an international drug-smuggling cartel and using his official position as cover, I'll revise my position, but given the information we see in the public domain right now, I'd say this is a terrible miscarriage of justice.
Time for Canadian diplomats, Afghan officials who were employing him, and the United Nations bureaucrats who contracted him to intervene on his behalf with the government in Dubai.