x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Four acquitted of hurting Emirati in bar fight

They receive lashes and fines for drinking, but are cleared of assault charges after two months.

ABU DHABI // Judges today acquitted four people of causing permanent injury to an Emirati during a bar fight, ruling that the man presented an old medical report while trying to prove the damage. 

HL, an American, BR, a Briton, MR, a Pakistani, and MN, Lebanese, were all acquitted of injuring MA, an Emirati, on January 14 in the Capital Hotel’s Rock Bottom bar. They were accused of shattering part of his cheekbone. 

The brothers MR and BR, who are Muslims, were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking alcohol. HL and MN, non-Muslims, were fined Dh1,000 for drinking alcohol without a license. 

They have been in prison for two months, and the judges denied bail for them several times. 

Abdulraouf Abdulqader, HL’s lawyer, presented documents that dated the injury to 2001, when a support was screwed into one of MA's cheekbones, then removed in 2006.

“That was a permanent disability and anything, however tiny, would cause the bone to shift,” Mr Abdulqader told the court. 

MR, who was visiting his brother, said he got into an argument with the Emirati, who head-butted him. MR told BR, who asked the Emirati why he had grown violent. BR said MA hit him with a bottle, which MN tried to grab.

HL told prosecutors he had gone to the police station to translate for BR but was detained.