Arsonist killed in Dubai prison after being stabbed 37 times by rival gang

Twenty three prisoners are charged over the death of a fellow inmate.

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DUBAI // A prison gang boss known as “Rida the burned” was killed after being stabbed 37 times in his face, neck and chest in a revenge attack by a rival gang, a court heard yesterday.

Eighteen inmates surrounded Ayyoub Abdul Rida – an arsonist who earned his nickname because of his penchant for setting fire to both himself and police cells – and four of them stabbed him to death with improvised knives and sharpened wooden sticks. During the attack they sliced off one of Rida’s ears and the tip of one of his fingers.

Prosecutors told the Criminal Court that the attack on August 20 last year during Eid Al Fitr was part of a continuing feud for supremacy between the rival gangs and followed a fight in which Rida, 42, an Emirati, had chopped off the finger of one of his rivals R A, 31, also Emirati.

The killing took place in ward D of Dubai Prison where Rida, who had served the first six months of a three-year sentence for assault, was being held in solitary confinement.

A police corporal opened a gate leading to the ward to allow an Indian inmate back from a visit, but as he did so a crowd of other prisoners pushed through.

“When a police officer tried to stop them, they threatened to beat him up,” said the corporal, who lost his job at the prison after the incident.

Eighteen inmates dragged Rida from his cell and started beating and kicking him. Fourteen of them then formed a ring around Rida as the other four began stabbing and hacking at his body. One stabbed him in the chest and chopped of his finger and another stabbed him in the head and neck. A third man chopped of his ear and the fourth stabbed him “in several parts of his body”, said prosecutors.

Specialist riot police had to be called in to quell the violence.

“The ambulance arrived but Ayyoub Abdul Rida was bleeding from every part of his body and I knew he died in the ambulance on the way to Rashid Hospital,” said a lieutenant who was on duty at the time.

“Rida had deep cuts in his face, and all over his body,” he said.

Prison officers believe the gang had been planning the attack for more than two weeks.

The 18 men are charged with premeditated murder. Seven of them face a separate charge of assaulting one of Rida’s friends.

A further five men from Georgia, Uzbekistan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan are accused of being part of Rida’s gang and face charges of attempted murder over the earlier fight. They are also charged with assaulting five prsoners from the rival gang.

The case was adjourned to October 29.