x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Death penalty for bootlegging rape, murder

'Ringleader' will be executed; 12 other gang members get life in prison for assaulting and killing two rivals.

DUBAI // The leader of an armed alcohol bootlegging gang that kidnapped two members of a rival gang, tortured them, sexually assaulted them and buried them alive was sentenced to death this morning by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

The court also sentenced 12 gang members to life in prison followed by deportation for premeditated murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault.

The 13 men were also accused of consuming alcohol, while the leader, MJ, 24, faced charges of possessing alcohol to provide others. All 13 denied the charges when they first appeared before the court in February 2010.

The 12 Indians and one Pakistani – SS, BW, RS, SSK, AS, SSJ, MS, SSD, MR, RK, PS and SSS – kidnapped Abu Baker Nujila and another man, who has not been identified, and assaulted them with metal bars, pipes, sticks, swords, machetes and knives on January 1, 2009.

They all raped the victims before the whole gang buried them in sand. The 13 were arrested, according to prosecution records, on January 25, 2009, after information came to light that the bodies had been found buried in Jebel Ali.

A police team searched the Jebel Ali Industrial Area until it found the gang.

When interrogated, the men said they were carrying the weapons for self-defence against rival gangs in the area.

Prosecutors said MJ coerced the rest of the gang into the brutal, premeditated attack on their rivals.

Although denying the charges, MJ told investigators that cut-throat competition for sales among bootleggers in the area left his gang no choice but to take up arms to protect their “turf”.

He admitted to sending people to “warn off” competition from straying into his territory a number of times. MJ, a mason, told arresting officers that the two victims had persisted in selling alcohol in his area, and that his gang had wanted to “teach them a lesson that they will never forget”.

Prosecution documents quote him as saying: “In alcohol sales, everything happens.”

A forensic report said the victims had been savagely beaten with “hard and sharp objects”, but both suffocated after being buried in the sand.

salamir@thenational.ae