x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dubai court finds 23 prisoners not guilty for gang murder of infamous inmate

Twenty three prisoners from two rival gangs were on Thursday morning found not guilty of charges of premeditated and attempted murder.

DUBAI // Twenty three prisoners from two rival gangs were on Thursday morning found not guilty of premeditated and attempted murder charges.

Riot police were present at Dubai Criminal Court to maintain order as 18 convicts were acquitted of the premeditated murder of 42-year-old Emirati prisoner Ayyoub Abdul Rida, known as “Rida the burned” for his penchant for setting fire to both himself and police station cells.

He had been stabbed 37 times by a rival gang on the second day of Eid Al Fitr in August, 2012, as an act of revenge after he had chopped off the finger of Emirati RA, 31, who was in a turf war with Rida in Dubai Prison.

The remaining five — ZS, 27, from Georgia, PK, 32, from Uzbekistan, SE, 29, and JP, 40, both Russian, and EM, 31, from Kyrgyzstan — are part of Rida’s gang and were found not guilty of attempting to kill RM in the ensuing fight.

The court ruled that CCTV footage from the prison’s ward D was not sufficient enough to pinpoint who the killers were.

Prosecutors had said that the 18 men used improvised knives and sharpened wooden sticks to attack and kill Rida.

They alleged that a fight broke out at about 5pm on the day in question after which the defendants returned to their cells and prepared their weapons to kill him.

The court was told that Emirati defendants RM, 35, MM, 28, AG, 30, and gang leader RA dragged Rida from his cell and started beating and stabbing him.

Prosecutors said RM stabbed his victim in the abdomen and chest before chopping off part of his finger in revenge. MM was said to have stabbed Rida in his head and neck, while AG and RA stabbed several parts of his body before RA chopped off a big part of Rida’s ear.

The other 14 accused in the gang were said to have joined in by kicking and beating the man.

Rida the burned, who was six months into a three-year sentence for assault, died almost immediately from the attack.

A police captain on duty at the time said of Rida: “The ambulance arrived but Ayyoub Abdul Rida was bleeding from every part of his body and then I knew he died in the ambulance on the way to Rashid Hospital.”

Another police witness said that a number of the defendants formed a circle during the attack, to protect those who were stabbing the victim.

Lieutenant JA, 43, said he saw Rida before he was taken to the ambulance. “He had deep cuts on his face and all over his body,” he said.

Riot police were called to the jail to get inmates under control.

In Thursday’s verdict, the court said that the video recording of the incident failed to show the features of those who participated in the murder, rendering it impossible for police, prosecutors and forensic experts to confidently identify Rida’s killers.