Grieving father plans to visit Obaida’s grave to tell him “justice has been served”

Obaida’s killer was given the death sentence by the Dubai Criminal Court after being found guilty of kidnapping the boy from outside his Sharjah home before raping and killing him.

DUBAI // Ibrahim Al Aqrabawi, the father of 8-year-old Obaida, said he plans to visit his child’s grave to tell him justice has been served.

Obaida's killer, a 48-year-old Jordanian, was given the death sentence by the Dubai Criminal Court after being found guilty of kidnapping the boy from outside his Sharjah home before raping and killing him. Ten members of the Obaida's family were in court as the judge sentenced the killer. Packed into the public gallery, the men and women cried and shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "We thank God" as the verdict was delivered.

“Now I can visit my son and tell him that justice has been served,” said Mr Al Aqrabawi. “I am grateful to the UAE and its legal system. Thank you UAE, your just law gave us peace. Always thankful to God.”

A tearful Mr Al Aqrabawi was consoled by family members including Obaida’s three uncles who continued their shouts of “Allahu Akbar” as they left the courtroom, stopping to thank every policeman present on their way.

“We are now at peace that the rightful law of the country delivered a just punishment for the man who took away our son,” said one uncle, while the another said he planned to call his sister, Obaidah’s mother, who is in Jordan and was not present for the sentencing, and inform her of the verdict.

Obaida’s third uncle said the boy’s soul was now at rest and he was a “bird in heaven”.

In its justification for delivering the death penalty, the court stated that the defendant’s claims of suffering from a psychiatric disability were not backed up by documents, nor did he seek treatment for the disorder inside the UAE despite having lived here for a long time.

The court also said his confessions came willingly as he carried out a detailed re-creation of the crime that left no room for doubt.

“The court’s findings rest on the evidence in documents and the confessions of the defendant, which came as a result of his free will and full awareness and therefore rejects the defendant’s denial in the closing hearing and pleas submitted by his lawyer,” the verdict read. It ruled that he had “kidnapped and premeditatedly killed Obaidah Ibrahim Al Aqrabawi after raping him and consumed alcohol and drove his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol”.

“As for his request for a lenient sentence, the court was horrified by the defendant’s hideous crime and therefore unanimously sentences him to death,” the verdict read.

Habib Al Sayegh, board chairman of the Emirates Writers Union, and Jameelah Al Muhairi, from the Emirates Human Rights Association, were in court to witness Abu Ali’s sentencing.

“We are present because this is a major case, which is alien to our society. We were hoping for the deterrent of a public execution,” said Mr Al Sayegh.

Obaida was kidnapped on May 20 while playing outside his father’s garage in Sharjah’s industrial area.

His body was found two days later in Academic City Road in Al Warqa.

The ruling can be appealed in the next 15 days.

salamir@thenational.ae

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