Lawyer speaks of his duty to defend
DUBAI // The lawyer representing one of the most notorious men in the UAE says he has to do his job regardless of the crime or feelings he may have about the defendant and the crime that will send him to his death.
Ali Musabbeh Dhahi, who took over representing Jordanian killer Nidal Ali, 49, after the previous lawyer said he could no longer handle the burden of Obaida’s death, said after the verdict on Monday he had to “play his part”.
“It was my responsibility to provide the best legal defence for my client, regardless of the nature of his crime,” said Mr Dhahi.
“When I was appointed for this case, I accepted it in the same way I accept any other cases – there was no prejudice in it. And I proceeded in my defence as if it was like any other murder case.”
The lawyer said the defence was built on challenging laws and technicalities.
“He pleaded guilty, so now my part was to challenge the legal procedures in the case to reduce his sentence, or hasten the verdict,” said the Emirati, who admitted that his first meeting with Ali was a difficult one.
“In my first meeting with Mr Ali, I was not that comfortable when I sat down with him. On the other side of the table, he was rigid and didn’t talk,” the lawyer said. “However, after the second meeting with him, we had a normal conversation, and talked about the case and what are the next moves were in the defence.
“In the end, I played my part to the best of my ability. If it was not me, there would have been another lawyer handling it.”
Last October, the gravity of the case got the better of defence lawyer Omran Darweesh, who requested at the appeals court to be excused from defending Ali.
“Your honour, I have done my duty as a lawyer and now I cannot bear the heavy weight of a child’s blood,” Mr Darweesh said.
“I have asked the lower court to refer him to a medical committee to evaluate his mental abilities but my requests were not met. Therefore, I find that I cannot continue to represent him and bear his blood or the blood of an innocent child,” he said.
A mental health assessment was later granted, and it found Ali fit to stand trial.
Updated: February 27, 2017 04:00 AM