A man who raped and strangled an 11-year-old boy on the roof of an apartment building in Abu Dhabi was sentenced to death by the criminal court on Monday.
In May, Athan Janjua was returning from the mosque across the street from his home after performing afternoon prayers and Quran recitation when he was assaulted and murdered by the middle-aged Pakistani defendant.
The man disguised himself as a woman by wearing an abaya and lured the boy, who is his sister’s step son, to the rooftop of the Abu Dhabi apartment where Athan lived with his family.
There the defendant tried to rape him but the boy resisted and begged his attacker to respect the copy of the Quran lying next to him, prosecutors said based on the defendant’s earlier confessions.
When Athan continued to resist, he strangled him with a laundry rope.
Both public prosecution and the boy’s Russian mother and Pakistani father insisted on the death sentence against Athan’s killer.
Dr Majed Janjua, Athan’s father, on Monday said he was satisfied with the verdict and was looking forward to the execution.
“Of course we are a bit relieved of the decision,” he said, “but he (the defendant) is still breathing, so as long as he is breathing it is hard for us.”
According to UAE law, any death sentence has to go through the Court of Appeal and Cassation Court before the sentence can be carried out.
“I don’t know how long it will take, by law they have to go through these steps, but I am waiting for the day they will execute him and I will be there,” Dr Janjua said.
His mother, Tatiana Kruzina, previously described Athan as loving and caring.
“Our son was very brave, not an easy boy. If somebody would try to do something wrong, he fought and he fought,” she said.
Athan was reported missing on May 30, during Ramadan. His body was found the next day by maintenance workers. His parents were given the news by a cousin who called them while they were at Athan's school searching for him.
“We went there [to the roof] and I saw that my son was lying down,” Dr Janjua said. “When I saw the scene, I lost focus of the surroundings. I focused only on my son.”
Athan moved to Abu Dhabi two years prior to the incident from Moscow, where he lived with his mother, to stay with his father in the capital where Dr Janjua was born and raised.
“After he came to my life it was full of joy and I felt young,
“Because I know what he suffered when he was away from me, I tried to compensate,” Dr Janjua said. “He was a very active kid.”
The defendant was arrested in Abu Dhabi a few days later.
Throughout court proceedings the defendant continually denied committing the crime, saying he was at a labour camp in Mussaffah at the time.
He told the court it did not make sense that he would kill the boy and attend his funeral two days later.
“I was like everybody else, consoling the family, and was surprised when CID arrested me,” he said.
A sanity test requested by his appointed lawyer Hassan Al Riyami, showed the defendant was sound of mind and responsible for his actions.
Prosecutors insisted throughout the trial that they had enough evidence against the defendant, and CCTV footage that showed him walking and out of the building before and after the crime.
They previously described the defendant as a “human wolf”, saying he committed a terrible crime and betrayed the victim’s father, who had helped the man to find a job in the UAE at an air-conditioning company.