x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Death penalty sought for torture dad who murdered daughter

The Public Prosecution is seeking the death penalty for a father accused of torturing his eight-year-old daughter to death and burying her in a sandy area of Sharjah.

The prosecution would appeal any verdict that was “not satisfying”, Essam Al Humaidan, Dubai’s attorney general, said at a press conference yesterday. To his left is Khalifa bin Deemas, advocate general.
The prosecution would appeal any verdict that was “not satisfying”, Essam Al Humaidan, Dubai’s attorney general, said at a press conference yesterday. To his left is Khalifa bin Deemas, advocate general.

DUBAI // The Public Prosecution is seeking the death penalty for a father accused of torturing his eight-year-old daughter to death and burying her in a sandy area of Sharjah.

Essam Al Humaidan, Dubai's attorney general, said yesterday that prosecutors had completed their investigations into the death of Wadeema, the Emirati girl whose body was found wrapped in cloth and buried in the sand in Al Badayer.

Prosecutors are also seeking the death sentence for the father's girlfriend. Authorities believe that Wadeema and her younger sister Mira, 7, were regularly tortured by their father HS, 29, and his Emirati girlfriend AM, 27, between November 2011 and May 2012. They believe that one such attack led to the death of Wadeema.

Both girls showed signs of being burnt with cigarettes and an iron on repeated occasions, according to the attorney general. They are also thought to have been whipped with electric wires, stunned with a taser-style device, burnt with boiling water and regularly locked in the closet for hours without food or water.

The two girls were in the custody of their father, who is separated from their mother. They were living with him and his girlfriend in a studio apartment at the time the alleged torture took place. The attorney general said the tools used to torture the girls had been confiscated from the apartment.

"My body shivers as I tell of the details of this horrifying crime," said Mr Al Humaidan, adding that the prosecution would appeal any verdict that was "not satisfying".

Referring to Mira, he said: "The death of her sister was the reason that mercy reached her."

He praised the young girl for narrating the events as competently as an adult witness - praise which was echoed by Mohammed Rustom, the head of the Juveniles and Family Court, who said it was the first time a girl so young had been able to give such full and detailed testimony.

Following hospital treatment Mira was sent to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children for rehabilitation. Her injuries constitute what a medical report referred to as a permanent 10 per cent disability.

"There are initiatives between Dubai police, the prosecution, the courts and the community development authority to create a mechanism for the execution and follow up of custody procedures," said Mr Al Humaidan.

He added that all prosecution witnesses had been questioned and both the father and girlfriend interrogated.

During his interrogation the father was reported to have complained that the girls "wouldn't listen to him".

"He said he did not mean to kill her but only to discipline her and her sister," said Mr Rustom.

His girlfriend, meanwhile, said she was afraid of him and could not stop him.

"He could not have regretted his crime - otherwise why did he continue torturing the younger daughter after he killed and buried his other daughter with his own hands," said Mr Al Humaidan.

Investigators say the father has a history of Tramadol abuse, but it was unclear whether he is believed to have been under the influence of the drug at the time of the murder.

Investigators believe the girl's mother was unaware of the torture.

"We worked side by side with police and worked round the clock to finish the investigations as soon as possible and refer the two defendants to court," continued Al Humaidan.

The father and his girlfriend will be charged in the Dubai Criminal Court with imprisoning and torturing the two girls, torture which lead to the death of Wadeema, and burying a body without obtaining the proper permits.

Both were also referred to the Misdemeanour Court on a charge of having consensual sex.

salamir@thenational.ae