DUBAI // A court ruling expected next month could bring the man who killed a four-year-old boy in a mosque at the start of Eid al Adha a step closer to execution. The Dubai Court of Appeals announced it will issue its final verdict for Rashid al Rashidi on April 11. Al Rashidi was found guilty of murdering young Moosa Mukhtiar Ahmed last year and sentenced to death by firing squad by the Dubai Court of First Instance.
In closing arguments yesterday in the appellate court, al Rashidi's defence attorney, Abdel Rahman al Midrib, said he wanted his client's sentence to be reduced, contending that some of the evidence produced during the lower court trial was insufficient to prove intent. Mr al Midrib disputed the forensic department findings, claiming its report had not specified the exact cause of Moosa's death. He also claimed the forensic report was unclear as to whether his client had raped the victim.
Dr Ashraf Ibrahim of the Dubai Police forensic department said last week that Moosa died from trauma after his head was struck several times on the floor in a rest room. That led to a blood clot and brain swelling that ultimately killed him. It was the first time a court had heard the exact cause of death as outlined by a medical examiner. Dr Ibrahim also said that although the investigation had found proof of sexual assault, in his opinion there was no evidence of rape.
The defence team also asked the court to convene a scientific committee to study the reasons behind the crime before issuing its verdict, a process that may delay it should the court grant the motion. Mr al Midrib requested the committee be comprised of members of psychological and sociological associations, and suggested it evaluate the circumstances that led to such crimes. He emphasised the need to study the phenomena to find the roots of such behaviour and safeguard the community.
Should the appellate court uphold the lower court verdict, the case will be referred to the Dubai Court of Cassation, the last appeal available. The case would then proceed to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who would set an execution date. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org