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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Man accused of raping and killing boy in Abu Dhabi claims he was in labour camp at the time

Athan Janjua was assaulted and strangled on rooftop of downtown Abu Dhabi

Tatiana Kruzina holds a picture of her son Athan. Behind is the father Majid Janjua. Haneen Dajani / The National
Tatiana Kruzina holds a picture of her son Athan. Behind is the father Majid Janjua. Haneen Dajani / The National

A man accused of dressing as a woman and raping and strangling an 11-year-old boy on the roof of an Abu Dhabi apartment building has told the court he was at a labour camp in Mussaffah when the crime was committed.

The Pakistani accused also retracted what prosecutors said was a confession after his arrest.

The man is on trial over the death of Athan Janjua in May.

The child was sitting on the roof of the building in which he lived with his parents shortly after prayers and Quran recitation, when he was assaulted.

Hassan Al Riyami, the defence attorney appointed by the court, said his client’s statement to prosecutors cannot be used as evidence because he retracted them in court.

Under Sharia, a defendant has the right to withdraw a confession at any stage during the trial, even just before a verdict is given, Mr Al Riyami said.

He told the court that all of the evidence presented by prosecution was based on hearsay and that there were no witnesses to the crime.

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Read more:

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“The watchmen said he heard the noise, other witnesses said they heard of what happened but no one was there in reality,” the lawyer said.

Mr Al Riyami called on the court to question the accused again and asked the victim’s family to reconsider asking for the death penalty.

The accused told the court it did not make sense that he would kill the boy and attend his funeral two days later.

“I was like everybody else, consoling the family, and was surprised when CID arrested me,” he said.

At Abu Dhabi Criminal Court on Tuesday, Athan’s Russian mother and Pakistani father repeated their intention to seek the death penalty.

At a previous hearing, prosecutors presented their evidence and explained how the crime was allegedly committed based on the defendant’s earlier confessions, although the middle-aged Pakistani has repeatedly denied all charges in court.

The accused said CID officers forced him to act out the crimes while they filmed him.

But prosecutors described the defendant as a “human wolf”, saying he committed a terrible crime and betrayed the victim’s father, who had helped the man to find a job in the UAE at an air-conditioning company. The defendant is the brother of boy’s stepmother.

The court was told that the defendant “grew close to the boy” for four months before his death.

Prosecutors said that 12 days before the death, the accused stole the key to the roof of the apartment building and bought women’s clothes for his disguise.

They said that after tricking the boy into going to the roof with him, he tried to rape him, but when the boy resisted he strangled him.

Prosecutors said they had enough evidence to convict the defendant, and that surveillance cameras showed him coming in and out of the building when the crime was committed.

The verdict is scheduled for November 27.