Teenager escapes noose as friend owns up murder

DUBAI — A Sudanese teenager has escaped death sentence in a 2003 murder case after his UAE national friend confessed that he was the killer. The latter has now been sentenced to death.


Amira Agarib

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Published: Wed 22 Jun 2005, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:06 PM

The Sharjah Court of Appeal set aside the death sentence awarded to Mazin Mubarak Osman by the Court of First Instance, following Majed Saqr Khalfan’s confession.

The murder of Ramez Hamal, a 20-year-old Syrian, followed a gang fight between teenagers at Al Majaz area in August, 2003. The Criminal Court had found Mazin guilty of the murder and gave him the death penalty, while sentencing Majed to six months in jail for assault.

As per the case, the fight began with another accused in the gang fight Mulhem Sulaiman, a Syrian, assaulting the younger brother of the victim. Ramez retaliated by beating up Mulhem, and this soon developed into a gang fight in which knives were used.

On being tipped off about the fight, police rushed to the scene and moved the injured to Al Qasimi hospital. Doctors at the hospital tried in vain to save Ramez’s life, but couldn’t since he had a fatal injury in the heart. Another stab victim, Basam Mufaq, escaped with injuried on his legs and hands.

Mazin, in the course of investigations, led the Public Prosecution to the small knife used in the murder. It was allegedly given to him by Majed after the stabbing incident, to be hidden somewhere. Majed also carried another bigger knife which was not used during the gang fight.

During proceedings at the Court of First Instance, Osama Abdul Raof, an eye witness, testified that he saw Mazin carrying the small knife, but said he did not see him stab the victim since he had become unconscious due to injuries.

Husamudeen Mohammed, another eye-witness, said Majed, who was wearing a red T-shirt, stabbed him in his finger and then stabbed the victim. He also testified that Majed was holding the small knife, and not the bigger one. Husamudeen also identified Majed in an identification parade.

Mustafa Osman, another witness, also testified that the person who stabbed the victim was wearing a red T-shirt. He also said that he saw Mazin holding the knife, but he didn’t stab the victim

During interrogation Mazin denied stabbing the victim, but said he only tried to stab Basam in self defence.

The forensic medicine report stated that the victim died of injury to heart and that it was caused by a small knife. Based on the forensic report, and the fact that Mazin was holding the small knife which had the victim’s blood, the court sentenced him to death and three others including Majed to six months in jail.

All the accused and Mazin’s father appealed against the verdict, with the latter stating that his son was innocent.

The Appeals Court, in its hearing on May 23, 2005, was interrogating witnesses when Majed stood up and declared that he was the murderer. “I have something to tell. I am the one who killed Ramez,” he confessed, even as his lawyer, Salem Sahoh, tried to refrain him from making any statement, and sought a postponement of the hearing.

In his confession, Majed said he took out the knife only to frighten the others when they started beating them up. “I stabbed them to defend myself and my friend, and later, I gave the knife to Mazin to hide it,” he said.

Advocates Sameer Al Azraq and Abdul Mataleb, who defended Mazen, told Khaleej Times that following the developments, the court reversed the verdict of the lower court, and sentenced Majed to death, and acquitted Mazin of the premeditated murder charge. He was, however, sentenced to one-and-half years in jail followed by deportation for physical assault against Emad Aldin and Bassam Muwafak Shaaban.

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