x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Chloroform killer spared death penalty as victim’s family could not be found

A murderer who stabbed his victim to death after poisoning him with chloroform cannot face the death sentence as the courts are unable to reach the victim's family, the Federal Supreme Court has ruled.

ABU DHABI // A murderer cannot face the death penalty because the courts are unable to find his victim’s blood relatives.

In cases where a victim’s heirs cannot be found the local authority takes their place – in this case, the public prosecution.

The Federal Supreme Court ruled that because the relatives could not be consulted – under sharia they are offered the choice of demanding the death penalty, blood money or a pardon – blood money was the only option because a caretaker authority cannot ask for death.

The court said the wishes of the man’s wife, who was present at the trial, could not be taken into account because she was not a blood relative and could not prove she was a legal heir.

It ruled that blood money of Dh200,000 be owed and kept in the court’s deposit safe until the blood relatives come forward. Even if they are found, the decision is final and they cannot change the sentence.

The killer broke into the house of his sleeping victim on June 12, 2006, covered his face with a chloroform-soaked napkin and stabbed him to death before burgling the house. Sharjah Criminal Court sentenced him to death. He also received three years in jail and fined Dh1,000 for entering the UAE using a false passport.

The verdict was upheld by Sharjah Appeals Court but the killer took the case to the Federal Supreme Court, arguing there had been an error in applying the law because only the views of the wife were taken into account. He paid the blood money last June.

hdajani@thenational.ae