x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Moosa murder suspect has police record

Officers investigating the death of a boy at a mosque say a suspect had been prosecuted before for sexual assault.


DUBAI // A man arrested over the murder of a Pakistani child had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting men, police said yesterday. The body of four-year-old Moosa Mukhtiar Ahmed was found in the bathroom of a mosque in Al Qusais, Dubai, last Friday.

"We confirm that a suspect has been arrested and investigations are ongoing," said Major Gen Khamis al Maziena, the deputy Commander General of Dubai Police. "He was arrested on the second day of Eid [Saturday] among a round-up of suspects who have had prior criminal records." Gen al Maziena said the suspect had confessed to the crime during interrogation. The suspect had been convicted of sexually assaulting men at least once before, the officer added.

The boy's family said Moosa was lured to the mosque with promises of Eid gifts. They initially assumed he had died as the result of a fall in the bathroom, but were subsequently informed by the police that he had been murdered. "We have not heard anything further from the police about the suspect apart from that he was arrested and he confessed," said Safdarbaksh Wahedbaksh, Moosa's uncle. Moosa's family has lived in a villa in the quiet neighbourhood for several decades.

His father, Mukhtiar Ahmed Khudabaksh, said Moosa and his brothers were born and raised in the UAE. He said the family was in a state of shock and might now leave the area. "There are bad memories in this place now. Moosa's grandfather has been insisting that the family move from the area," said Mr Wahedbaksh. "But it's a big family and it is not easy to find such a home in Dubai." Many locals were regular visitors to the mosque where Moosa's body was discovered.

"The watchman of the mosque is on holiday. He was not here when this happened," said one resident. Others described their shock at Moosa's death. "He came here often during Ramadan for prayers," said an employee at a cafe next to the mosque. "He was a very smart and cute boy. This is such a tragedy. The fear now is that the man who did this was also from this area. A lot of families are scared about this."

Shopkeepers in the area have claimed that they had seen the suspect and that he was a frequent worshipper at the mosque. Moosa's father told The National on Tuesday that the boy's siblings were too frightened to leave the house or go to the mosque. He said whoever had killed his son deserved a punishment "worse than death". pmenon@thenational.ae amustafa@thenational.ae