ABU DHABI // Parents of a boy who police say was killed on an Abu Dhabi rooftop spoke on Monday of their grief.
Police have arrested a middle-aged Pakistani man they have accused of sexually assaulting and suffocating Athan, 11.
“Our son was very brave, not an easy boy. If somebody would try to do something wrong, he fought and he fought,” said his Russian mother, Tatiana Kruzina, 30.
“We don’t know what happened with him but we believe that he resisted. He did not allow his attacker to abuse him and that cost him his life.”
Athan was last seen on Tuesday last week as he walked from the mosque across the street after performing afternoon prayers and Quran recitation.
“He was carrying two bottles of juice and holding the Quran and he was fasting,” said his Pakistani father, Dr Majid Janjua, 38.
Dr Janjua got home at 6.30pm and asked where Athan was. Ms Kruzina said he had not come home and might be with his grandfather, as they often sat together. Then the grandfather came and asked about the boy.
Dr Janjua went back to the mosque and asked Athan’s friend, who said he did not see the boy after asr prayers.
“At 7.15pm I went up to the roof to check. The door was shut but not locked,” Dr Janjua said. “Inside there was a big place with stuff around, and I called ‘Athan, Athan’, but there was no answer.
“I thought he was not there so I left. I did not check the other side of the terrace, because I did not imagine in my subconscious it would be like this.”
Dr Janjua went with his father to the police station to report that Athan was missing. The next day they went to the boy’s school but received a call from a cousin who told them to go home.
They were told that Athan had been found on top of the roof.
“We went there 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 ago 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 boy played football in Russia, and when he moved to the capital, his father took him to play cricket and badminton.
“He was a different kid,” Ms Kruzina said. “He was very loving and caring.”