x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

17 facing death penalty deny knowing deceased

After translator is found, Indian workers tell court their confessions were extracted by police after severe beatings.

SHARJAH // Seventeen Indian workers facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of a Pakistani man all testified at the Sharjah Court of Appeal today. Three earlier hearings in the Sharjah Court of Appeal Court were postponed because of the absence of an acceptable translator from Punjab to Arabic. The Ministry of Justice provided a translator, and today's proceedings went uninterrupted. The accused were brought into the court room in three groups, and the defendants were asked to individually explain what they knew about the case, the deceased and their first confessions.
Their answers were all similar: one after the other denied any knowledge of the deceased and denied being involved in a bootlegging operation that allegedly led to the man's death. They also told the judge they had never spoken to a public prosecutor and all the confessions were extracted from them by police after severe beatings. After hearings from the accused, the judge asked the lawyers to make their requests. A lawyer, Mohammed Salman, who is representing 16 of the accused, asked the judge to summon to court the forensic scientist who examined the crime scene.
He also asked the court for an explanation from the public prosecution department of how their case had been made without ever talking to the accused. "Prosecutors are supposed to conduct their own independent investigations, not copy and paste that of police," he said. The next hearing is set for September 29. ykakande@thenational.ae