American family rules out execution in Qatar teacher murder trial

A judge in Qatar ruled on Sunday that the Pennsylvania-based family of Jennifer Brown could decide whether the Kenyan security guard charged with her murder should face the death penalty.

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DOHA // The family of an American schoolteacher murdered in Qatar has told a court they do not want her alleged killer to be executed as they are “not cruel”.

A judge in Qatar ruled on Sunday that the Pennsylvania-based family of Jennifer Brown could decide whether the Kenyan security guard charged with her murder should face the death penalty.

Relatives were also told that it was able to choose between blood money or a pardon.

One of Brown’s sisters said the family could not morally sanction the use of the death penalty and wanted the security guard, who has yet to be convicted, to “get life” in prison.

“We don’t believe in taking life,” said Tricia Snisky. “What he did was awful and horrendous, but killing him wouldn’t bring Jennifer back. It does more harm.

“We don’t want somebody’s blood shed on our behalf. We are not cruel.”

The family is in the process of signing official papers for the Qatari court, expressing their desire for a life sentence, Ms Snisky said.

Although the death penalty can still be handed down as a punishment in Qatar, it has been 12 years since the last execution took place.

Even if the security guard was to be pardoned, he would face some form of custodial sentence, court officials said.

Brown, 40, was murdered in her company-provided home in November 2012.

She had only been in the country for two months, teaching at the English Modern School in Al Wakrah, south of Doha.

The security guard has reportedly confessed but the case has been subject to several delays.

“We are tired of it. It’s been dragging on for two years,” Ms Snisky said by telephone from her home in the town of Jim Thorpe.

“We just want to close it and forget it as best as we can.”

She said that her parents would “never be the same” because of the murder.

The next hearing in the case will take place in Doha on March 8.

* Agence France-Presse