x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jealous killer must face firing squad

A Sri Lankan man who murdered lover's husband in alley knife attack must now wait for confirmation of death sentence date.

DUBAI // A 23-year-old man who stabbed his lover's husband to death in a jealous rage is to face a firing squad. Rowan Kumar, from Sri Lanka, was convicted in April by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In June, the Dubai Court of Appeals accepted the public prosecutors' case for the death sentence on the ground that the murder was premeditated. Yesterday, Dubai's highest court upheld the execution order. JP, a Sri Lankan businessman and Kumar's colleague, was stabbed to death in June 2009. His wife at first told police that an African man had killed her husband during a mugging, but witnesses revealed that she and Kumar were having an affair.

The wife then confessed to her involvement with Kumar, and said he had killed her husband.  Kumar denied murder but admitted that he fought JP in an alley. The Court of First Instance found him guilty but sentenced him to life in prison because premeditation could not be established. At the appeals court, prosecutors proved that Kumar had planned to kill JP, and had waited for him with a knife in a narrow and poorly lit alley in Jafiliya. He saw JP walking hand-in-hand with his wife and stabbed him in the back. 

JP then chased Kumar and fought with him, but the killer stabbed him again in the chest and neck before escaping. He was eventually arrested at his mother's home in The Springs. Police said she had bought a plane ticket for her son to flee the country and she was charged with aiding and abetting the escape of a criminal, but the charges were dropped. Kumar will now be placed on death row at the Dubai Central Prison awaiting the Attorney General's presentation of the case file to the Ruler's Office to confirm an execution date. 

The Chief Justice of the Criminal Courts, Judge Ahmed Ibrahim Saif, said convicts on death row had visitation rights until the day of execution.  Kumar's family can visit on the day of execution, but may not attend the execution itself. The victim's family is allowed to do so with permission from the attorney general's office. The last execution in Dubai was in 2002, of a Yemeni man convicted of kidnapping and murder, according to public prosecutors. amustafa@thenational.ae

Death warrants must be signed by the emirate's Ruler. The Ruler or the victim's family can pardon a killer. The official method of execution for murder is the firing squad. The last confirmed execution took place in 2008, in Ras al Khaimah. A suspect can be sentenced to death for eight crimes: murder, espionage, terrorism, drug trafficking, rape, converting from Islam, adultery and giving government secrets to enemy states. Representatives from the Public Prosecutor's office must be present and any last statements are recorded. Members of the victim's family may attend the execution only after special permission from the Attorney General. The defendant's family cannot be present.