x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Trial date is set in bootleg murders

Thirteen men accused of torturing, raping, then murdering two members of a rival bootlegging gang will learn their fate on January 3.

DUBAI // Thirteen men accused of torturing, raping, then murdering two members of a rival bootlegging gang will learn their fate on January 3.

Yesterday, their lawyer offered their defence, saying the arresting officers failed to properly identify the defendants.

The men are accused of killing Abu Baker Nujila and another unidentified man after kidnapping them on January 1, 2009. They allegedly beat the victims with metal bars, pipes, sticks, swords, machetes and knives before raping them and placing them in sand-covered, makeshift graves, prosecutors say.

Five of the defendants were charged with rape; all were charged with murder.

The 12 Indians and one Pakistani all denied the charges when they first appeared in court on February 15.

The lawyer Abdel Rahman al Baloushi asked the court for acquittal or leniency, and said the failure of identification should be grounds to dismiss the officers' testimony to prosecutors.

According to prosecution records, the men were arrested on January 25 last year. An investigating officer told prosecutors that information came to them that the bodies of two men had been found buried in Jebel Ali.

"Our investigations led us to the first defendant, who was found in Jebel Ali with the rest of the gang members," said investigating officer MA.

A police team scoured the Jebel Ali Industrial area and found the other defendants carrying swords, machetes and pipes.

When the men were arrested and interrogated, they said they were carrying the weapons for self- defence.

"They claimed that they were protecting themselves from other gangs who sold alcohol, and used [the weapons] to scare away people who tried to sell alcohol in their area," MA testified.

 

amustafa@thenational.ae