DUBAI // Rashid al Rashidi was disturbed as an adult because he had a troubled childhood, his former lawyer said yesterday.
"His mother died giving birth to him in Bahrain. A year later his father moved to the UAE and settled here. When he was two his father married an Indian woman, who had two boys and three girls," said Mohammed al Saadi, who represented al Rashidi at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.
Mr al Saadi said al Rashidi was abused physically and mentally as a child and was blamed for anything that went wrong in the household. He was not allowed to play with his brothers and sisters.
"He sniffed glue, smoked and drank alcohol from a young age, possibly as young as 10," Mr al Saadi told the court during the trial.
The lawyer said al Rashidi dropped out of school but was unable to find a stable existence.
"Rashid dropped out of school from second grade. His father died when he was 14, which is when Rashid joined the army, but he was dishonourably discharged at 17," Mr al Saadi said.
Al Rashidi was convicted of numerous crimes as a juvenile, and continued his life of crime as he grew older.
"He hated his stepmother and hated everyone else because of her. He became introverted and distant from society until he became a seaman," the lawyer said.
These troubles manifested themselves in severe mental issues later in life and "created a savage criminal", Mr al Saadi said.
Al Rashidi was smiling and indifferent when he was confessing to raping and killing Moosa Mukhtiar Ahmed, a police investigator told prosecutors.
"The message I would like to send is that people should mind their children," Mr al Saadi said.
"The situation has now changed and is not like before, where you can trust your seventh neighbour. Parents and educational institutions should look over and mind children properly, especially after the increase in the number of sex crimes on the streets," he said.
Mr al Saadi described yesterday morning's execution as God's will. "The man committed a felony and was punished accordingly. This should send out a message to the public to be aware," he said.
Al Rashidi's family declined to comment.
The men on death row
Although executions are rarely publicised, until yesterday morning the last known instance of capital punishment in the UAE had taken place in 2008 in Ras al Khaimah.
But since 2004, there have been eight executions in the country, according to Chief Justice Syed Abdul Baseer, the head of the Abu Dhabi criminal court.
Abu Dhabi has fewer than 70 inmates on death row, guards and former inmates of Al Wathba prison told The National last year.
The last execution in Dubai, according to Dubai Public prosecution, occurred in 2002. The subject was a Yemeni man who was guilty of kidnapping and murder.
Twenty-four people were sentenced to death in Dubai from 1998 to 2010. During the past year, five inmates were sentenced to death. In all, 19 death warrants are awaiting the signature of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE.
According to the Chief Justice of the Criminal Courts, Judge Ahmed Ibrahim Saif, convicts are granted visitation rights until the day of their execution.
On the day of the execution, public prosecution representatives, police and the prison director must be present. A doctor is required to be at the execution.
* Awad Mustafa