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Till the last hearing, the victim’s family had refused any such settlement and wanted the 17 Indians to be executed as ruled by the Sharjah Shariah Court of First Instance. In fact, Ramadan, a relative of the victim, had told the court in the last hearing that the family wanted the death sentence to be executed.
The Court of Appeal adjourned Wednesday’s hearing to February 17, 2011 after a representative of the victim’s family presented their new request.
The representative, who has official authorisation from the victim’s family, told the court, “The family wants compensation, including ‘diya’ (blood money), or ‘qasas’ (death sentence) if the defendants refuse to pay the compensation.”
The court panel presided by Judge Abdulla Yousuf Al Shamsi, Judge Ahmed Labib and Public Prosecutor Mustafa Al Barodi referred the settlement application to the defence lawyers who said they would discuss the proposal with the families of the defendants and a representative of the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
Mohammed Salman, official spokesman of the defence team, said their clients would accept the settlement and pay money to the family. In that case, the defendants would face at least a minimum penalty of three years in jail instead of capital punishment, he said.
Since the lower court’s verdict on March 18, the case has generated a lot of interest in India. In fact, Shivraj Patil, the Governor of Punjab state where most of the defendants belong to, visited them in the jail in Sharjah recently. This was revealed by Brigadier Humaid Mohammad Al Hudaidi, Director-General of the Sharjah Police, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Earlier, Indian businessmen and social activists had said they were mobilising money to pay the blood money on behalf of the defendants and negotiating with the victim’s kin to arrive at an amicable settlement.
When contacted, a spokesperson for the Indian Consulate in Dubai refused to comment about the negotiations happening in the case. “The next hearing is on February 17. Our lawyers are preparing for it,” the spokesperson said.
During Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted for two-and-a-half hours, the court heard witnesses Abdul Razal Asaad and Captain Mohammed Al Shamsi, both personnel of the Sharjah Police, who arrested the defendants after investigating the crime scene.
The two witnesses said they formed the investigation team and arrested the defendants who had threatened the police team members and resisted arrest.
The defence lawyers quizzed the witnesses about the manner in which they arrested the large number of suspects, the evidence collected from the crime scene, including the recovery of tools used in the brawl such as knives, swords and clubs, and the cloths of the suspects.
The court cancelled the hearing of other witnesses after the lawyer representing the victim’s family presented the settlement proposal.
The lawyers said they need time to discuss the details of the settlement proposal with the victim’s family.
At the same time, they have to discuss with the defendant suspects and get information on the tools used in the crime.
The lawyers agreed to the court’s decision to hear more witnesses, but asked the court to summon only the Director of the Hiera police station, which handled the case and prepared the crime report.
The judges panel said that they would decide whether there is a need to call the Director of the Hiera police station.
The court hearing was attended by relatives of suspects, the representative of the Indian Consulate and the translator assigned to translate the statements of the accused from Punjabi to Arabic.
According to the case, the 17 Indians attacked the victim in June 2009 with sharp weapons, causing several injuries to him, including a skull fracture, which led to his death. They are also charged with attempting to kill three other people, who were admitted to the Kuwaiti Hospital after the brawl.
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