Footballers sentenced to death for murder

Two professional footballers are sentenced to death for killing a man with a knife in a brawl last year.

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SHARJAH // Two professional footballers were sentenced to death yesterday for the fatal stabbing of a man last year. The Sharjah Court of First Instance passed the sentence on three Emirati men, including the two Sharjah Club players, one of whom also played for the national team. The court sentenced seven other men to prison terms of one to three years for conspiring in the murder and for obstructing justice. Halimi Abdul Azim, a senior court official, said the judgment came after several months of hearings. The three judges in the case condemned FK, the national player; MJ, his Sharjah Club teammate; and MK, FK's brother, for killing their neighbour, JJ, on April 15 last year. According to police files on the case, the three overpowered JJ during a fight in the Riffa area of Sharjah. JJ was thrown to the ground and stabbed in the face with a knife. Ismael Abu Ezza, the Sharjah attorney general, declined to comment on the sentences. In a statement signed by Mr Abu Ezza when the case was first referred to court, he said: "The three intentionally killed JJ as they engaged him and stabbed him with a knife. They stabbed him in the face four times that resulted into serious wounds that resulted into his death." The statement said the other defendants watched the attack but did not stop it. MK also was charged with being drunk at the time of the attack and with trying to flee the country after the crime to avoid arrest. SK, who was not present during the attack, was charged with helping MK in his attempt to flee - a plot that was foiled by Sharjah Police, who arrested the men. Abdul Hamid al Kumity, the lawyer for the victim's family, said after the sentencing: "Justice has finally come."