The couple accused of torturing an eight-year-old Emirati girl to death should be executed, prosecutors told a court today.
Wadeema’s badly beaten body was found buried in the desert, and her father and his girlfriend have been charged with killing her.
Her brutal death has since inspired new child-protection legislation, known as Wadeema’s law.
At Dubai Criminal Court yesterday, the family and juvenile prosecutor, Shihab Ahmed, told the Attorney General, Essam Al Humaidan, and the Advocate General, Khalifa bin Dimas, that he would be seeking the death penalty.
Wadeema’s father, H S, a 29-year-old security supervisor, and his girlfriend, A M, 27, also Emirati, are accused of torturing the child and her sister Mira, 7, who survived.
“This case shocks Emirati society,” Mr Ahmed said. “It doesn’t reflect our traditions and Islamic principles and today is the day of judgment and punishment.”
Mr Ahmed said neither of the accused had shown any remorse after Wadeema’s death and had continued to torture Mira.
“The punishment of death will be the only consolation to Wadeema’s loved ones,” he said. “According to law number 344 from the UAE Penal Code, we seek the death penalty.”
Acting for Wadeema’s father, Hani Al Jasmi insisted the evidence was inconclusive. He said his client should not be charged with imprisoning the girls because he had been awarded custody.
“The tools of torture mentioned in the case file were not fatal,” said Mr Al Jasmi. He added that the father loved his daughters and meant only to discipline them. “It was A M who tortured the girls.”
The lawyer expressed surprise that forensic experts were unable to determine the cause of death.
“Scientists managed to find out the cause of death for many Egyptian Pharoahs from 7,000 years ago. How come the forensic expert couldn’t specify the cause of death in a six-month-old case?” he asked.
Hamdi Al Sheewi, defending the girlfriend, said the girls’ mother “should be standing next to the defendants and face charges as well”. He claimed the mother had given up her daughters and had not enquired about them for months.
“The only evidence here is the testimony of Mira,” Mr Al Sheewi added. “The other testimonies were from people who had heard of what happened but did not see it.”
The girlfriend, who has had a son with Wadeema’s father, had previously confessed to all the charges. The father had denied all charges except for hiding Wadeema’s body.
“A M’s confession should not be taken seriously because it was given so that she could save her love,” Mr Al Sheewi said.
At the end of the hearing, the father told the court: “I confessed to all the charges because I didn’t want A M to be in prison and my son to be brought up there. I sacrifice myself for my son to be raised outside prison. I loved my children.”
Both defence lawyers asked for leniency. A verdict is expected on February 13.