Relatives divided over blood money or death

Blood relatives of a Pakistani man beaten to death by 17 men in a brawl over bootlegging are split over whether to demand blood money or the death sentence.

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ABU DHABI // The relatives of a man beaten to death in a bootlegging brawl are divided over whether to demand blood money or the death sentence for the 17 men alleged to have bludgeoned him with bricks and canes.

A representative of the relatives told the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court today that the man's father wanted vengeance, while the other relatives wanted blood money. The relatives also asked the court to increase the value of the blood money as the man had a large family. Neither the size of his family, nor the amount of the suggested payment, was disclosed.

Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer, head of the court, said that the relatives must chose either vengeance or blood money, but could not have both.

The court also heard that the relatives' representative had not yet been granted power of attorney. He said that he would need a month before he could get such written authorisation.

"Tell [the representative] the rights of all of the defendants who are stuck in prison now is on his neck," said the judge.

All of the accused - 16 Indians and one Pakistani - deny beating the Pakistani to death with bricks and canes.

The judge adjourned the case until June 17 and asked the blood relatives to reach a decision on their choice.

The case is unrelated to a similar case in Sharjah, which features the same number of defendants.