x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Death sentence for chainsaw killer

A labourer who murdered his roommate with a chainsaw in 2006 has been sentenced to death

ABU DHABI // A labourer who decapitated his roommate with a chainsaw has been sentenced to death.

Pakistani S Z waited until they were alone their room before slicing his neck open on December 22, 2006.

He initially confessed to killing his roommate, claiming it was revenge after he had tried to rape him, but he later retracted this confession at Abu Dhabi Criminal Court.

The case has been delayed for so long while the court tried to track down the dead man’s family.

Under Sharia, a victim’s blood relatives must be asked whether they wish to seek the death penalty or be granted a blood money settlement.

The court finally decided to issue a verdict based on the Maliki school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). If it proves impossible to find an heir, the court is allowed to presume on the relatives’ behalf.

“The court has used all of its authority to find the blood relatives and were unable to reach them, or find an address for them if they did exist,” the verdict read. “So it has become obligatory to continue with the procedures.”

The decision was based on a forensics report by a committee of three doctors that stated the victim was “most probably” murdered.

The court was confident that the Pakistani’s confessions to prosecutors were sincere because he described the events in detail, even if he denied them later in court.

A witness, A B, said he saw the Pakistani sitting on the victim’s bed on the day of the incident.

Another witness, A M, said the Pakistani had missed work that day.

“The defendant did not show any rejection to these statements,” the verdict stated.

The court said it was confident the murder was premeditated because the victim had deep wounds in his neck. It said he had waited for an opportunity when no one was around to attack his roommate.

“He pretended to be sick that day to skip work, and he went to the victim’s room at a time when he was sure the victim would be in his room alone,” the verdict stated.

The court said it was issuing a death sentence based on civil law terms and not Sharia, because vengeance – issuing a death sentence – requires three pre-conditions: the confession of the killer in court, two witnesses to the crime or “qasama” – an oath that needs to be repeated 50 times. As these were not met, the court issued the sentence under civil law.

On the day of the murder, police received a report of a suicide at a labour camp in Mussaffah.

They found the victim lying on his back on a metal bed with his throat slashed and his eyes open.

His right hand was on the bed while the second was hanging towards the floor. Beneath it lay the chainsaw.

The Pakistani’s lawyer, Hassan Al Aidarous, had claimed the victim committed suicide and his client had only confessed under duress.

He said none of the three medical reports issued about the labourer’s death proved he had been murdered.

“The first report suggested the labourer’s death was suicide,” he said. “The second report conducted by forensics in 2007 said it was not possible to determine if the death was suicide or murder.

“A third report concluded only that the labourer was “most probably” murdered.

“There is no ultimate evidence that the labourer’s death was caused by a crime... court rulings are based on ultimate truth and not on doubt,” he said.

All death sentences are subject to appeal and cassation before being executed.

hdajani@thenational.ae