x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE bootleg killers face fresh compensation claim

Seventeen Indian men who paid blood money of Dh3.4 million to the family of a man they killed in a bootlegging brawl are now facing a new civil compensation case.

Seventeen Indian men who paid Dh3.4 million in blood money to the family of a Pakistani they killed during a bootlegging brawl now face a further claim for Dh1m compensation from one of the man’s relatives.

In the latest twist in a drawn-out court battle, the 17 men are being summoned by a reconciliation committee at the Sharjah Civil Court on October 10 to hear a complaint by Nawaz Khan – brother of the dead man, Misri Khan – who claims he was seriously injured in the brawl in January 2009.

Despite paying the blood money last year after receiving donations from businessmen, the 17 have remained in jail pending another civil compensation case filed by two other men, who also claim to have been injured in the bootlegging turf war.

They have now been ordered by the reconciliation committee “to appear in person” or send a representative to answer Nawaz Khan’s complaint.

“Misri Khan’s wife and parents got the Dh3.4 million compensation .... [but Nawaz] did not receive any compensation,” said Mohammed Ramzan, who is representing Nawaz Khan at the next week’s hearing.

“He said he wanted money too and spoke to a lawyer here. The lawyer told him: ‘All right, you make a separate case’.

“Nawaz wants his right. His injury was the most serious and he was in Kuwaiti Hospital for nine days.”

Mr Ramzan was also the representative of the dead man’s family during the blood money negotiations. Nawaz Khan now lives in Pakistan.

The lawyer for the 17 men, Bindu Suresh Chettur, said any further claims were “absurd” as the men had already paid the family.

She said they had not yet received the summons.

“Maybe we will receive it. They can bring as many cases [as they want],” said Ms Chettur, who was appointed by the Indian consulate to defend the men.

Last year’s blood money payment was one of the largest in the Sharjah court’s history.

The convicted men won a reprieve from death row and their sentences were commuted to two years – less time than they had already served – in September last year by the Sharjah Court of Appeal. The court also ordered them to be deported.

However, they were not released after prosecutors appealed against the verdict at the Federal Supreme Court, urging it to take into account injuries sustained by three other men in the brawl, and further charges of possessing and selling alcohol.

In February this year, the Sharjah Court of Appeal sentenced them to six months in prison after it found them guilty of bootlegging. Since they had already spent three years behind bars, they did not have to serve more time.

But because of a travel ban and another civil compensation case of Dh1.5 million filed by two men, who also claimed to have been injured in the fight, the 17 men remain in prison. A verdict on the civil case brought by the two men is expected by the end of the month.

SP Singh, a hotelier and philanthropist who helped to raise the blood money, said a new case was only intended to waste the court’s time. “We have already paid Misri Khan’s family,” he said.

pkannan@thenational.ae