Murder victim's lawyer reported stalker

The lawyer of a woman stabbed to death says he complained to the authorities three times that she was being stalked.

According to a friend, Rachid Dabaaz "rarely missed an opportunity to engage a beautiful woman".
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DUBAI // The lawyer of a woman stabbed to death by her former lover says he complained to the authorities three times that she was being stalked by the man who would eventually kill her. Yousif Hammad, who represented Roma Puri, said his client was repeatedly threatened by Rachid Dabaaz, most recently the day before he stabbed her to death, wounded her sister and committed suicide by slitting his wrists.

Dabaaz, a 30-year-old Moroccan, was given a suspended jail sentence in June for stalking and threatening Mrs Puri, 46, her husband, Nicky, 56, and their son, 12. On July 26, he was released on bail after appearing in court on similar allegations, but continued to harass the family. Last Sunday, Mr Hammad filed another complaint at Al Muraggabat police station. The following day, Dabaaz killed Mrs Puri and then himself.

"Bail is issued upon the court's discretion and, in this case, the criminal proceedings have now ended in a dead end as the man has committed suicide," said Mr Hammad. "But the man attacked the victim and killed her, which is shocking." Bail had been posted by one of Dabaaz's brothers, who works as a waiter at a Dubai hotel. The brother is now on emergency leave, said sources close to the investigation.

According to Dr Ali al Jarman, managing partner at Prestige Advocates, UAE courts refuse bail in only two circumstances - a drug-related case or a murder trial. "The right of bail is an undeniable right to all accused in court," said Dr al Jarman. "The UAE justice system considers all suspects innocent until proven guilty, but this right is exercised only at the judges' discretion." Any bail application handed to the courts is reviewed by a three-judge panel, who must all agree for it to be approved.