x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bootleg killers 'never met victim', appeals court hears

Out of seventeen Indian men originally put on trial, the four men sentenced to seven years in jail for beating another to death in a bootlegging brawl deny ever having seen him.

ABU DHABI // Four men sentenced to seven years jail for beating another to death in a brawl over alcohol bootlegging told the appeals court today they had never even seen the man.

Out of seventeen Indian men originally put on trial over the killing DS, JS, SS and AS were found guilty by the criminal court of beating the Pakistani SA to death with bricks and canes.

In addition to the jail term they were also told to jointly pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the man's relatives. The other thirteen were found guilty only of bootlegging and were sentenced to six months.

However, today the four claimed that they too were only guilty of bootlegging and had never even met their alleged victim.

"Then who killed [him]? How did he die?" asked Dr Khairi Al Kabbash, head of the court.

The men said they did not know.

"He entered your restricted bootlegging area, he violated alcohol honour and tradition, so you beat him up," charged the judge.

The men continued to deny beating the man, but confessed to trading in alcohol.

"Who do you bootleg for? Who's your big guy?" asked the judge.

They said his name was Kareem Khan.

"Kareem Khan's name keeps coming up in the case, yet public prosecution did not press any charges against him," said the judge. "I would love to see him."

He then asked the men if Kareem Khan was a real person or just a name. They said they spoke to him over the phone but never met him in person.

The court ordered public prosecution to appoint a lawyer to the four men as they cannot afford one.

The case was adjourned until September 19.

hdajani@thenational.ae