x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Killer's treatment halted, court hears

Egyptian who was found not guilty of murder due to his condition wants care that judges ordered.

ABU DHABI // A mentally unstable killer appeared in the Court of Appeal yesterday asking why he had been shackled and removed from hospital to a prison before his psychotic condition could be properly treated.

BAM, an Egyptian, suffers from a chronic psychosis and had been ordered by judges to be "kept for treatment in a medical shelter until the court decides to release him".

The judges found him not guilty last year of murdering two men because his disorder made him unaware of his actions.

But prosecutors appealed, and after two-and-a-half months in hospital he was returned to prison, despite - he told the court yesterday - objections being raised by the doctors treating him at the hospital.

They said, he claimed, that "it is not possible for a mental patient to be cured in this short period".

From the prison, he was sent to a forensic testing unit for 10 days of further assessment of his condition. During that time he claims he was kept in shackles, which caused his condition to deteriorate.

Twice in 10 days he suffered a mental relapse, the court heard. BAM told the judges he did not object to being sent for testing, but to the conditions in which he was kept. "They should not keep us like that, with shackles," he said.

He remains in prison, where he has been waiting for two months for the conclusion of discussions with the Minister of Interior about arrangements for his transfer to another hospital.

"I've been waiting for four or five months now to enter a hospital," the prisoner told the court yesterday. He asked the court to order that when he does return to hospital, he should not be kept in shackles.

The judge told him that such an order would need to come from the Public Prosecution, and warned there might be objections from police and hospital staff fearing further violent episodes. "You know, they get scared too," he said.

BAM was acquitted in October last year of killing two Nepalese men involved in a lawsuit against him. He was charged in November 2009 with beating Rashmi Lal Kunar in a fight and permanently damaging one of his eyes.

Mr Kunar's friend, Shiva Babu Pasinit, was due to appear as a prosecution witness in the case at Al Dhafra Court in Al Gharbia.

On the morning of the hearing that same month, BAM went to Mr Pasinit's home and stabbed him several times, killing him, before heading to court with the murder weapon and another knife concealed under his clothes.

At the end of the hearing, inside the courtroom, BAM pulled out a knife and attacked Mr Kunar.

Mr Kunar tried to run away but BAM chased after him and fatally stabbed him, before being subdued by bystanders.

BAM was charged with premeditated murder, but when the case came to trial at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance he presented a medical report showing he was suffering from a severe psychiatric disorder that made him unaware of his actions.

Because of that, judges found him not guilty and ordered him to receive treatment.

Doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) confirmed that BAM had suffered from the disorder for 23 years and often did not remember his actions. Abdulraouf Abdulqader, his defence lawyer, presented medical reports showing that staff at SKMC had treated his client as far back as 1999.

BAM had shown "active symptoms" of chronic psychosis for at least 18 months both before and after the stabbings, although he had since shown some improvement thanks to treatment with antipsychotics, Mr Abdulqader told the court. The hearing was adjourned until June 13.

hhassan@thenational.ae

hdajani@thenational.ae