The Ethiopian diplomats in Dubai arranged the family of the murderers to pay blood money in exchange for their release
The Sharjah Appeal court has lifted the death penalty imposed on four men who were sentenced to capital punishment over the murder of an Ethiopian maid in 2009.
A ruling announced on Thursday by presiding Judge Abdullah Yousuf Al Shamisi saw the four Emiratis, who have already served over five years in jail, released after their punishment was reduced to three years each in jail.
The court earlier ordered an increase in the blood money payment to the victim’s family from Dh100,000 to Dh200,000 ($55,000 USD) following an appeal from the family.
The lawyer for the four men said the court waived the death penalty imposed on them and reduced it to three years each in jail. The men, who have already spent more than five years in jail, are now free to go, he said.
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.