ABU DHABI // The former UAE international footballer Fayez Juma'a Khamis was ordered to face a firing squad yesterday for his part in the murder of a neighbour three years ago.
Khamis, 30, and two other men stabbed the victim to death during a fight in Sharjah on April 15, 2008.
The death sentence handed down yesterday by the Federal Supreme Court overturns a verdict by the Sharjah Court of Appeal, and is final.
Khamis, a defender who made 11 appearances for the UAE national football team, was originally sentenced to death by Sharjah Court of First Instance in 2009, along with his brother, MK, and another Sharjah club footballer, MJ.
Sharjah Court of Appeal overturned the verdict against Khamis in August that year.
Last June, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that police had shown "blatant disregard" for evidence by failing to present one of the murder weapons, which had fingerprints on it, and sent the case back to the Court of Appeal. That court reduced the sentence to a year in prison and a Dh10,000 fine.
Faced with a second appeal yesterday, the Federal Supreme Court issued its own verdict, as required by law.
Khamis's lawyer, Salim bin Sahoh, said the decision was announced less than five minutes after he concluded his argument, and he is seeking a legal way to object. In UAE law, however, there is no further appeal. Only the President, Sheikh Khalifa, or the Ruler of Sharjah, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, can halt the execution or issue a pardon.
Mr Sobh said he argued yesterday that Khamis had been acquitted twice before, on strong evidence, and that this final appeal should be rejected.
The fight that led to the murder took place in a sandy area, and police gathered shoes from the scene as evidence, along with a piece of metal that had fingerprints on it. However, the piece of metal was never sent to the forensics laboratory to be analysed.
"The forensic report does not mention any metal piece nor the fingerprints collected from it. This has led to the blatant disregard of significant evidence," the Federal Supreme Court said last year.
The court said the evidence was significant because prosecutors had alleged that Khamis used the metal object to strike the victim, JJ, on the left side of his face.
Sharjah's attorney general, Abu Ezza, told the first hearing: "The three intentionally killed JJ as they engaged him and stabbed him with a knife. They stabbed him in the face four times; that resulted in serious wounds, which resulted in his death."