x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Trio kidnapped man for ransom, court told

Three men appear before the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance accused of tying up and beating a fellow Bangladeshi national over money.

ABU DHABI // Three men kidnapped a fellow Bangladeshi and demanded a ransom from his father, a court heard yesterday. The defendants, identified as SH, TR and DM, appeared before the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance charged with depriving a person of his freedom, which they denied. Prosecutors say they tied up the victim, beat him and stole his money.

The three Bangladeshis took AH hostage in Mussafah and contacted his father demanding money for his release, prosecutors said. However, the men said AH owed them money and that they contacted his father only to ask him to tell his son to pay his debts. They said AH went to their residence of his own accord and that they tied him up after he refused to pay. AH told the court they took him "by force" and stole Dh1,500 from him after tying him up and beating him with a stick.

AH was also taken into custody on suspicion he initiated the fight. He reported the incident after escaping, according to testimony. Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer of the Criminal Court asked AH whether he would be willing to reconcile with the three men and AH replied, through a translator: "It is up to the court." The chief justice explained to him it was not the court's decision to order reconciliation, but AH reiterated his first answer. The defence lawyer for the alleged kidnappers told the court that the evidence against his clients was scant. He said forensic tests showed no signs of a beating.

"There is no evidence they did all that to him, these are merely claims he made," said Hashem Towfeeq. He said the charges against his clients were exaggerated. "Just because they are three men, [it] does not amount to being a gang," he said. "They contacted his father only to push his son into paying his debts. Also, the alleged beating might just be a minor assault." The court-appointed lawyer asked the court for leniency but refused to ask for acquittal, saying there was sufficient evidence of a mutual assault among the four men.

hhassan@thenational.ae