Kuwait court overturns death sentence for man who murdered woman

Farah Akbar's killing led to demands for greater female protection in the country

The family of a murder victim have vowed to petition prosecutors over a Kuwaiti court decision to reduce her killer’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison. Photo: Kuwait News Agency
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A Kuwaiti man sentenced to death over the murder of a Kuwaiti woman had his sentence reduced to life in prison on Thursday after a court of appeal overturned the decision, it has been reported.

He was sentenced to death for the murder of Farah Hamza Akbar, who he kidnapped, stabbed then left her body outside a hospital in eastern Kuwait last April.

Authorities said the man had seized Akbar from her car and taken her to an unknown location before dumping her. She was pronounced dead outside the hospital.

The Akbar family’s lawyer said they were shocked by the appeal court's decision to reduce the sentence on Thursday and vowed to petition prosecutors over the verdict.

"As the attorney for the heirs of the late Farah Akbar, we will submit a request to the Public Prosecution to void the verdict, as well as to appeal before the Court of Cassation the ruling that replaced the death sentence for her killer to life imprisonment, and we will demand the death penalty again," Abdulmohsen Al Qattan told Al Qabas newspaper.

Women at rally promoting gender equality outside the National Assembly in Kuwait City. AFP

The victim's sister Dana Akbar also voiced her frustration after the court's decision on Thursday.

“Investigations were conducted against the accused, several witnesses testified against him, three doctors testified against him, and all reports condemned him, including a report proving that the knife entered her body 21 centimetres deep," she said. "On top of this, we presented reports proving the existence of precedents against the accused.

“I think these are all indications that he does not deserve clemency or the application of a reduced sentence against him. But we are all confident in our just judiciary and we are all confident and hope that the Court of Cassation will do justice to my sister in her grave and take revenge on those who deprived her of her life."

The killing of Akbar in April last year shocked the Gulf nation and sparked demands for greater protection for women from violence and harassment in Kuwait. Her death also led to mass protests in front of the country’s National Assembly last summer.

In 2020, Kuwait passed its first law designed to specifically target domestic violence but activists have demanded that more be done to protect women.

Updated: June 23, 2022, 5:20 PM