x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Emirati man sentenced to die for killing

Cassation court approves death sentence for man who, at age 19, who shot and killed a friend in an argument over a woman.

ABU DHABI // The court of cassation has upheld the death sentence for an Emirati man who, as a 19-year old, shot and killed his friend in a dispute over a woman.

Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, must approve the ruling for the execution order can be carried out.

A?S was originally sentenced to death by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance for killing his classmate, R?A?S, 17, also an Emirati. The killing took place on January 19, 2009, in Musala al Eid in Abu Dhabi.

The sentence was upheld twice by the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals before being upheld again yesterday by the Court of Cassation.

“It is very hard, extremely hard,” a sister of A?S said yesterday. “We think this is an injustice. The victim had a knife and they disregarded that completely.”

She said her brother had been armed because he was worried he would be confronted with a weapon.

The two men met on the day of the killing near Marina Mall where they were joined by a female friend, an Emirati, and two male friends. They drove towards the Musala al Eid area and stopped on the way to talk.

During the talk, A?S pointed a gun at the female friend, but she ran away. He followed her and convinced her he was joking. When she returned, A?S shot R?A?S in the back of the head.

A?S claimed he fired in self-defence after R?A?S pulled out a pocketknife. After the killing he planned to flee, but changed his mind and turned himself in. A closed pocketknife was found at the scene.

The two other men in the car said they heard a gunshot and a woman screaming. The woman said she immediately got in a taxi and left, but later received a telephoned death threat from A?S.

Defence lawyers denied the killing was premeditated and questioned the woman’s integrity as a witness. The lawyers also argued that their client should not receive the death sentence because the main witness was a woman and her testimony was

insufficient because Islamic law required two male witnesses, or at least one male and two females, in murder cases.

“The testimony of women is not acceptable when it comes to blood,” one of the man’s two lawyers told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance in August 2009.

hhassan@thenational.ae