Defence lawyer wants court to modify charge

DUBAI — A lawyer representing a Palestinian businessman accused of the premeditated murder of his nephew on Tuesday requested Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal Eissa al Sharif to modify the charge to murder.

By Mary Nammour

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Published: Wed 14 Apr 2010, 11:50 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:50 AM

Mohammed Ridha who gave his closing arguments in the case argued that his client took the extreme step as a result of provocation and at the heat of the moment. He refuted the prosecution’s accusation that he had pre-planned the murder. The court will pronounce its verdict on April 27.

On February 16, the Court of First Instance sentenced the 47-year-old businessman and owner of a contracting firm to 15 years in prison as he was found guilty of killing his nephew in protracted anger over nearly two years. He was ordered to be deported after serving his jail term.

The court also referred the compensation claim to the civil court.

The businessman allegedly hit his nephew on the head with an iron rod, strangled him with a rope and buried the body under concrete in his company warehouse, the court records say. The nephew raped his daughter on October 7, 2007, impregnating her. He then refused to marry her when asked. He resorted to blackmail over what is considered a social embarrassment.

Defence counsel Mohammed Ridha dismissed the premeditation element. He argued that the hole in which the defendant dumped and buried the victim’s body was originally made as a sort of toilet. “It was made on a date prior to the crime and before the defendant came to know about his daughter being raped and impregnated by the victim,” Ridha claimed.

Ridha also said that even after the victim raped his client’s daughter, his client had the good intention of rectifying the grave mistake and arranged for their marriage. “However, the victim took a cheque of Dh100,000 and was constantly elusive to concluding the marriage in Jordan. He provoked my client saying that he had told his parents about the rape. Then he asked my client to make him a partner in his firm or he would humiliate him further,” the lawyer said.

The defendant took the iron rod from the crime scene which also refutes the premeditation element, Ridha added, and pleaded the court to show mercy.

With his eyes filled with tears, the defendant requested the permission to speak in court but his lawyer advised him not to do so.

“The court does not deem there is legal cause to give the defendant a punishment less harsh,” a bench presided by Judge Al Saeed Bargouth ruled in February. “The murder was not the result of any provocation by the victim at the time, but meditated long in advance.”

However, the court was lenient in its verdict, “given the circumstances: the defendant’s condition and the victim’s behaviour”.

The murder took place on May 7, 2008 in Al Quoz Industrial Area. He buried the body in a deep hole and had unsuspecting workers fill it up with concrete the following day, court records say.

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