Court clears 23 prisoners of premeditated murder of inmate

The court’s verdict said that the footage did not show the killers’ faces and could not stand as evidence against the defendants.

By Marie Nammour

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Published: Sat 26 Apr 2014, 12:59 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:18 PM

Eighteen prison inmates were cleared on Thursday of the gang-style premeditated murder of an Emirati inmate by stabbing him 37 times in Al Aweer Central Prison.

The inmates, including 14 Emiratis, one Ukrainian, one Uzbek, one Afghan and one Pakistani, were all acquitted on the grounds that it was not clear from the CCTV footage who took part in the stabbing on August 20, 2012.

The court’s verdict said that the footage did not show the killers’ faces and could not stand as evidence against the defendants.

Riot police maintained order in the court as the verdict was announced. Five other inmates, believed to belong to the 42-year-old victim’s gang, including a Georgian, an Uzbek, two Russians and a Kyrgyzstan national, were also ac-quitted of attempted murder in the same case.

A police lieutenant said that every inmate who was caught with injuries at the same time of the incident was accused in the case. “Many of them were also caught on cameras entering the gate and later heading towards the victim’s cell.”

More than 50 prisoners were believed to have involved in the clash.

It all began when a group of in-mates took advantage that an electronic gate was momentarily open for a prisoner to break in and make their way through the gate leading to the section where the incident took place, not obeying the orders of the on-duty corporal.

The group of inmates had a fight with a Russian gang in which the victim intervened with a sharp tool to back up his Russian friends.

Those inmates went to their cells and came back shortly later with reinforcements of as many as 40 prisoners, some of them carrying sharp tools they made inside the prison. Five of them cornered the victim in a spot away from the surveillance cameras.

They beat him up for around 15 minutes while the others made a surrounding circle to stop the others from interfering.

Many inmates, who witnessed the attack, were reluctant to give testimonies fearing for their lives from the defendants’ retaliation.

An Iraqi inmate, who witnessed the fatal assault and dragged the victim away to protect him, told the police that two weeks before the incident, he overheard five of the main defendants planning to kill the victim describing him as ‘the Eid sacrifice’. The witness was nearing the completion of his prison term and pleaded the police and prosecution to wait for him to finalise his release procedures before he gave an official statement.

The witness added that one of the defendants, identified as R.G., had a previous fight with the victim prior to entering the prison and he and his brother (also a defendant) held grudge against the victim who had chopped off R.G.’s finger.

While one of them stabbed the victim with a piece of metal, three others hit him with a metal plate and a stick on his head and all over his body and another cut off his ear. The victim was also hit with a garbage basket.

The Iraqi inmate wrapped the severely injured victim later with a blanket and took him down for medical assistance. The victim died on his way to Rashid Hospital.

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