x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Woman's testimony 'is not acceptable'

An Emirati man who shot his friend dead should not receive a death sentence because he is unstable, acted in self-defence and did not plan the killing - but also because the main witness was a woman, a court hears.

ABU DHABI // An Emirati man who shot his friend dead should not receive a death sentence because he is unstable, acted in self-defence and did not plan the killing - but also because the main witness was a woman, a court heard yesterday. "The testimony of women is not acceptable when it comes to blood," one of the man's two lawyers said. The female witness, identified as S, was at the scene without being lawfully connected to one of the other males present, further compromising her testimony, the lawyer said.

"Her impartiality is non-existent," he told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance. AS, 19, is charged with first degree murder over the death of his schoolmate RS, 17. According to the public prosecution, AS and RS were in dispute over a girl, identified as R. On the day of the killing, AS and RS met and drove to Marina Mall, where they were joined by S and two male friends. They drove to villas in Karama, where S, AS and RS left the car to talk. AS then pointed a gun at S, and she ran away. Her chased her and convinced her he had been joking. When she returned and began speaking with RS, AS shot him in the back of the head.

The prosecution said AS claimed that, after an argument, RS had pulled out a pocket knife and AS shot him in self-defence. He allegedly planned to abandon RS's body, but changed his mind and instead turned himself in. A closed pocket knife was found at the scene. "This is not a murder case, it is a legal self-defence," said Tarek al Hawary, for the defence. The prosecution said the two other witnesses in the car heard the gunshot and the screams of S, who said she jumped into a taxi and later received a telephoned death threat from AS.

The defence did not challenge their client's involvement in the killing, but denied that it was premeditated, and questioned S's integrity. They said her testimony was insufficient because Islamic law required two male witnesses, or at least one male and two females, in murder cases. The prosecution has called for retributive punishment, namely the death penalty, while the defence has asked for a lighter sentence.

A verdict is due on August 23. newsdesk@thenational.ae