x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mother of Sharjah killer in blood money plea to save his life

A mother from Nepal is asking her government to help provide nearly Dh83,000 in blood money to save her son, a convicted murderer in Sharjah, from the death penalty.

DUBAI // A Nepalese woman has appealed to her government to save her son, who was convicted of murdering a compatriot in Sharjah, from the death penalty.

Man Kumari Sunar, mother of Durga Bahadur Sunar, 30, petitioned Nepal's foreign ministry last week, seeking help to raise 2 million Nepalese rupees (Dh82,676) in blood money or convince the victim's family to waive that amount and pardon her son.

Durga Sunar was convicted by the Sharjah court of murdering Ganesh Bahadur Basnet, 25, in January 2009. Both men were working in Sharjah as illegal labourers.

"We have tried to raise this money but it is impossible for us to give this money," said Krishna Bahadur, the convict's uncle from Kathmandu. "Durga's mother works as a helper in other people's houses and makes a living. The victim's family is also extremely poor and their son, like ours, was the only earning member."

The Nepalese Embassy in Abu Dhabi said it did not know how Mr Basnet was killed or when the death sentence was pronounced. It was notified by UAE authorities in March 2010 of the death penalty.

Mr Bahadur said both families were caught in a difficult situation.

"Their demand for compensation is justified," he said. "The boy's father is paralysed and his mother also works as a daily wage earner. They are helpless and so are we."

He said that if they could not raise the money, the only other option was to convince Mr Basnet's family to forgive their son and ensure he comes back to support both families.

However, Mr Basnet's family said this was not a feasible solution.

"He is from a simple family," said Bhakta Khanda, the victim's cousin. "He does not have the capacity to support two families. There is no way he can earn so much. We know they are poor and it is hard for them to pay this compensation.

"But Ganesh was the only one taking care of the family. We do not want him [Durga Sunar] to be given the death sentence, either."

Mr Khanda said the family was not seeking the full Dh200,000 - the blood money amount usually awarded by UAE courts for victims' kin - but were willing to settle for a little less than 2 million rupees.

"We want something reasonable. Durga's family has now appealed to the Nepali government. The government has a duty to help its citizens overseas, if they get in trouble. But if they don't, we will ultimately forgive him because we don't want him to die."

The Nepalese foreign ministry confirmed that the murderer's family had approached them, but said paying the blood money was not an option.

"We are not in a position to pay," said Arjun Bahadur Thapa, spokesman for Nepal's ministry of foreign affairs. "Both are poor families and they are in a pathetic, tragic situation. We have received a petition and are looking into the issue. We will take a decision soon."

The Nepalese Embassy said it was waiting for the victim's family to take a decision.

"We are waiting for the written confirmation from the family of the deceased as to what they want," said Lok BP Chhetri, first secretary at the mission. "The government of UAE has asked for the family's will to go ahead with the death penalty or give pardon, or give diyya [blood]money in return for a pardon."

Mr Chhetri said that, despite the UAE authorities' notification of the death sentence more than two years ago, it has taken them that long to track down the victim's family.

"The intricacy of the case was because both men were not legally working in the UAE. We are actively involved in the case and hope to get a confirmation from Kathmandu in a couple of weeks," he said.

pkannan@thenational.ae