Sharjah: Four men facing the death penalty for raping, killing and dismembering an Ethiopian maid five years ago have been bailed after blood money was paid to the victim’s family.
The Sharjah Appeals Court dropped the death penalty, according to a ruling announced on Monday by presiding Judge Abdullah Yousif Al Shamisi,
The court reversed the death penalty and reduced the prison sentence to three years each.
The Emirati men, who have now spent more than five years in jail, are now out on bail, according to their lawyer
Salem Obaid Bin Sahoo, the men’s lawyer, told Gulf News that the ruling announced on Monday follows payment of Dh100,000 by the convicted men.
“We received a pardon from Ethopian authorities through the Ethiopian consulate in Dubai and we were told that the victim’s family had accepted the blood money and dropped the demand for the death penalty,” he said.
“The amount of Dh100,000 has been deposited in the safe of the court and they were bailed on this basis,” he said.
The approval by the family is a complete reversal from its original refusal to pardon the killers during the early days of the case.
In 2010, the Sharjah Court of First Instance issued the death penalty to A.M., 35, S.R., 32, H.A., 33, and A.J., 30, for the gruesome murder in what became known as the “Al Dhaid murder”.
The original verdict was handed down by Judge Yaqoub Al Hammadi and two other judges on the bench, Hussain Al Asoufi and Ahmad Awdh.
Sharjah Police had earlier said it was one of the gravest crimes of its kind as it included rape, alcohol and murder.
According to court records, the four kidnapped an Ethiopian maid in Khor Fakkan, taped her mouth, pushed her into their Land Cruiser and took her to the desert in August 2009.
They raped her in Khor Fakkan, dragged her into their vehicle again, before driving to Al Dhaid mountains where the act was repeated.
Prosecutors said after raping her in Al Dhaid the men ran their SUV over her head and battered her with rocks before attempting to hide her body.
According to the police, in 2004, one of the killers had raped and killed a 13-year-old Pakistani girl with two other accomplices. They were all sentenced to death, but he was forgiven by the victim’s father.
Cases involving capital punishment automatically go to appeal.
Representatives from the Ethiopian consul attended the session and followed up the case with the court on the behalf of the family.