x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Child killer's appeal is adjourned

The fishing boat captain sentenced to death for killing four-year-old Moosa Mukhtiar Ahmed in a mosque has had his appeal adjourned for a week after his lawyers argued media interest in the case is interfering with justice.

DUBAI // The fishing boat captain sentenced to death for killing four-year-old Moosa Mukhtiar Ahmed in a mosque has had his appeal adjourned for a week after his lawyers argued media interest in the case is interfering with justice. Six guards escorted Rashid al Rashidi into the Dubai Court of Appeals yesterday. After a brief hearing the presiding judge, Eisa al Sharif, postponed proceedings until next Sunday.

The legal team appointed to handle his appeal requested the hearing be adjourned to "alleviate the public and media pressure on the case". "We want to reduce the media pressure that is placed on this case to allow for a fair trial to go forward. "As lawyers, we do not base our judgement on the emotional values in the case, we look at the legal procedures and how they were followed and executed to give the defendant a fair trial," one of the defence lawyers, Abdullah al Midrib, told journalists outside the court room.

Al Rashidi was sentenced to death by firing squad in January after a lower court convicted him of raping and killing Moosa on November 27. The Criminal Court of First Instance heard that al Rashidi forced the boy into a toilet in the mosque's grounds where he sexually assaulted him and then killed him by smashing his head on the floor. Mr al Midrib said yesterday all the prosecution witnesses would be called again during the appeal.

He said the lower court had not followed certain "legal procedures" during the trial. "The psychiatric evaluation only stated that the defendant was aware of his actions, the team failed to answer a lot of questions that are significant to clear their report," he said.  Moosa's family was not present at yesterday's hearing. amustafa@thenational.ae