x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Father 'can pardon son for murder'

Killer spared death as court names father the victim's guardian.

ABU DHABI // A man accused of stabbing his wife to death after she told him she had been unfaithful was spared a possible death sentence by his own father yesterday after a court named the father as the person with the right to pardon him.

IH, from Sudan, stabbed his wife, also Sudanese, seven times after "several indications" she was cheating on him, the Criminal Court of First Instance heard.

The court ruled that IH's father, MH, should be the "guardian of blood", or wali al damm - the member of the victim's family with the right to pardon a killer, or ask for execution or diyya - blood money.

IH's wife had a daughter from a previous marriage and the couple had a son from their own, but the court decided the son was too young to be eligible as wali al dam, instead appointing MH, as he is the son's guardian. MH told the court yesterday he would pardon his son.

IH admitted in court that he had "probably" killed his wife.

He said the attack occurred after she confessed to having sex with other men. An argument followed, during which IH said his wife ran at him with a knife. IH said he could only remember trying to take the knife from her hands.

"After that, I don't know what happened, probably I killed her," he said. "I just became unconscious. We had a lot of issues and when I saw the knife in her hands, I just lost my mind."

He said his wife had been spending much of her time with an "effeminate" friend, who had been sending her "romantic" text messages. She had also been spending time with a female friend who lived alone in Sharjah. He believed the two of them were regularly sleeping with men at her flat. On the day of the murder, IH had gone to Sharjah to confront his wife, after she had spent the night at the flat there.

She told him by phone that she had gone to Ajman, so he pursued her there, only to be told that she was headed to their flat in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi. When he returned, she told him she often had sex with other men, IH said. When he threatened to report her infidelity, she ran at him with a knife, he said.

According to IH's brother, the wife's daughter from her previous marriage wanted the death penalty. However, for a person to be executed, sharia requires a consensus among all family members.

A verdict is due on Sunday.