Couple acquitted of murder appeal a lesser conviction

An appeal hearing has been scheduled in the Abu Dhabi courts on Jan 14. A Filipina and Syrian man are appealing their three-year jail sentence.

ABU DHABI // A Filipina and a Syrian man who were acquitted of murder but jailed for having an illicit relationship are scheduled to appear before the Court of Appeals this week. ALG, 39, from the Philippines, and Syrian AAA, 42, were sentenced to three years in jail on Dec 23. The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance also ordered their deportation after serving their sentence. Both had been acquitted of the premeditated murder of ALG's Emirati husband MHN, aged 70, in June last year.

Lawyers for the defendants have filed appeals separately. Both are detained at Al Wathba Central Jail, about 50km south-east of the capital. Sheikh Mohammed bin Tahnoun, the deputy director of the Bani Yas police station, said during last year's investigations that the woman called police after her children found MHN dead in his bed one morning. She told police that after dinner the previous night, her husband had taken his diabetes medication with milk and water and had gone to sleep.

His children discovered his body when they went to call him for breakfast. However, Sheikh Mohammed said police found blood on the man's face and knees and investigators concluded that he had been strangled. Results of a laboratory exam showed traces of the victim's skin cells under his wife's fingernails and DNA tests revealed two of her children were fathered by the Syrian man, who was living on the second floor of the house and working at a restaurant partly sponsored by MHN. He was also present on the night of the death.

Col Maktoum al Shuraifi, the director of the criminal investigation department, had said the man denied involvement in MHN's death, or having an affair with ALG. During a hearing held on Dec 14, ALG's lawyer had argued that the laboratory tests did not prove that ALG had killed her husband and that police had failed to explain "unknown" fingerprints found at the scene. He had also argued that ALG would gain nothing from killing her husband, as she was an expatriate sponsored by him.

The appeal is due to begin on Wednesday.

Published: January 11, 2009 04:00 AM