Bootleggers charged with killing two rivals 'also murdered a third man'

Court told that victim was beaten to death with swords, machetes, pipes and wooden blocks before being buried in a shallow sandy grave.

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DUBAI // A gang of bootleggers already on trial for the rape, torture and murder of two rivals, murdered a third man by beating him to death before burying his body in a shallow sandy grave, a court heard yesterday. The group of mostly Indian and Pakistani labourers attacked the rival bootlegger, identified only as "number 36", with swords, machetes, pipes and wooden blocks, before dumping his body and leaving it only partially covered by sand, the court was told.

The nine defendants already face murder charges in connection with the deaths of Abu Baker Nujila and another unidentified man, the court heard. Two other men are also charged with the murder of the third man. The men have also been charged with the illegal possession of alcohol for trade and consumption of alcohol. They attacked the unidentified man, who was a rival bootlegger, behind the Samsung office in Jebel Ali and beat him to death, prosecutors allege.

The man's body was partially buried where they assaulted him in November 2008, records show. The gang, mostly Indian masons and labourers and a Pakistani driver, all deny the murder charge at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. They also deny the possession of alcohol charge but pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol. The charge came after they were arrested for the murder, rape and torture of another two rival gang members on January 1 last year.

It is alleged that the gang killed Nujila and another unidentified man after they kidnapped them and beat them with metal bars, pipes, sticks, swords, machetes and knives before raping them and placing them in sand covered makeshift graves. The first defendant, mason, MS, 24, was accused of being the ring leader and coercing the rest of the gang into the murder. Investigators claimed fierce competition in sales was ongoing between alcohol bootleggers in the area.

The defendants said during questioning that they had warned the victim numerous times against selling alcohol in their area. They said that they decided to teach him a lesson. The defendants said they had metal rods and wooden planks concealed all around the area for their use and that they used these along with other weapons to attack the man. The attack was described as haphazard with gang members just trying to land a hit on the victim until he was still.

Officers then said that 23-year-old defendant SS claimed that when the victim was still he was picked up and thrown back onto the ground by the gang to check if he was still alive. After he was confirmed dead he was then buried and they fled on a bus driven by the Pakistani defendant. Presiding Judge El Saeed Bargouth adjourned the case to August 17 for a lawyer to be  appointed by court.