x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Man convicted of assaulting boy denies fleeing UAE

Man tells court he has never seen the boy, his father, or his cousin - who all testified at his trial - and that he has no idea as to why they accused him.

ABU DHABI // A man appealing against his conviction for assaulting an 11-year-old boy after praying with him at a mosque has denied trying to flee the country.

The man told the Appeals Court on Thursday that he had never seen the boy, his father, or his cousin – all of whom testified at his trial in the Criminal Court – and that he had no idea as to why they had accused him.

When asked by the appeals judge why he had escaped to Saudi Arabia after the incident, the Emirati replied: “I did not escape. I travel there regularly for business.”

The judge said records from the Ministry of Interior showed the man did make occasional trips to Saudi Arabia, but that these tended to last for only a few days at a time, whereas he stayed for 10 months after the boy was assaulted.

The man replied he had family problems at the time.

“My mother and uncle had a car crash during that period and were injured,” he said. “It took quite some time for them to recover.”

He asked to confront the boy, claiming that his testimony contradicted that of other witnesses.

The judge adjourned the case until this Thursday and asked for the boy to attend. He said he wanted to see the boy’s size as the man was “quite petit”.

The boy claimed at the criminal court that after prayers the man led him to his house before trying to kiss him and rape him, but that he kicked him away and escaped.

His cousin testified that he had heard the worshipper inviting the boy home and said he heard the boy’s screams when he passed the man’s home that evening.

The boy’s father also testified, saying his son had suffered sleeping problems since the attack and was now scared of older men.

The sentence handed down by the criminal court was not mentioned in records.

hdajani@thenational.ae