x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Death sentence stands for decorator's killers

Federal Supreme Court upholds death sentence for two killers who held a man hostage.

ABU DHABI // The Federal Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death penalty for two murderers and ruled that the sentence must stand regardless of whether the dead man's relatives waived their right to vengeance or not.

The two men were found guilty of premeditated murder after killing a man during a botched kidnapping. They had tricked their victim – a decorator – into visiting a warehouse by claiming they needed his services before kidnapping him, hoping to hold him to ransom. However, when the decorator realised he was in danger he tried to escape and a struggle ensued.

One of the men sat on his chest while the other tied his hands and feet and taped his mouth. During the struggle, the decorator was strangled and died, after which the men stole his phone and wallet and disposed of his body.

The Umm Al Quwain criminal court ruled they should be tried under Sharia and sentenced the two men to death – a sentence that was upheld by the Appeals Court.

The pair then appealed to the supreme court, where one of them claimed he only led the decorator to the warehouse, but did not play a part in killing him.

A forensics report did not detect his fingerprints on the decorator's neck. He claimed that the other man attacked the decorator, punching him twice on the nose and face, causing him to lose consciousness.

A defence lawyer representing both men said criminal intent to kidnap could not be proven because the decorator came to the warehouse willingly. He said the men were planning only to hold him hostage, not to kill him. But the court dismissed these arguments, ruling that under Sharia, if a group committed crimes, including murder and stealing, even if some within the group did not take part, everyone in the group was responsible.

It ruled that in the case of murder those responsible should be killed, even if their victim is an infidel, slave or son of a killer.

It added that this was the case whether relatives waived their right to vengeance or not.

hdajani@thenational.ae