A Dubai court has turned down an appeal for early release lodged by five men convicted of murdering a security guard more than 17 years ago.
The men from India and Pakistan, who were found guilty of killing the guard at a building site in Jebel Ali, were unable to convince the judges with the documents presented.
Dubai Appeal Court on Monday was told the men were part of a 10-member gang who in January 2006 broke into the site to steal 100 metres of cable worth Dh3,300 ($898).
The five, who were each sentenced to life in jail, broke into the site, stole the cables and killed the guard.
The others were the driver, two who kept a lookout and two who helped to break into the building site.
The security guard, whose age and nationality were not disclosed, had confronted the gang during the robbery.
The men assaulted the guard and strangled him. They then loaded the stolen cable into a vehicle and drove to Sharjah where they sold it on and divided the money.
The next morning, the dead guard's brother, who was working the day shift at the same location, discovered his body and called Dubai Police.
An investigation revealed fingerprints of some of the men at the crime scene.
While eight men were apprehended locally, two had escaped to Oman. They were arrested by Omani authorities and extradited to the UAE.
In a 2007 ruling, Dubai Criminal Court sentenced the five men to 10 years for murder followed by deportation.
The five accomplices received half of that sentence with deportation.
However, Dubai Court of Appeal revised the sentences later that year, with the primary culprits receiving a life imprisonment sentence, which typically means 25 years. Their accomplices had their sentences doubled to 10 years.
This decision was later upheld by the Court of Cessation.
After serving more than 15 years, the five men lodged an appeal for an early release, which was denied this week.
“As per UAE laws, any early release request is examined by a dedicated committee,” said legal consultant Hassan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates.
He said the committee evaluated the behaviour of each prisoner during their jail term and the potential threat they might pose upon release.
“The committee's focus isn't on the initial crime or the ensuing circumstances as that's the purview of the sentencing judges,” he said.
A new appeal can be submitted in two years.