DUBAI Salma Al Mazrooie stared vacantly at the dock from the last aisle seat in a Dubai courtroom on Wednesday afternoon as she waited for her ex-husband to show up along with his girlfriend. They didn’t.
A lack of coordination between the court and the prison where they are held meant Salma will have to return on August 5 when the court resumes trial in the horrific case that has captured the imagination of the nation.
Why did they do it? Al Anoud was my best friend in high school. Even after my divorce, I remained in touch with her. We used to exchange text messages about when I could see my daughters without my ex-husband finding out
Salma’s former husband Hammad Saud, 27, has been charged with imprisoning and torturing their two daughters, Wadeema, 8 and Meera, 7, with the help of his pregnant girlfriend Al Anoud A.
Wadeema died and her body was secretly buried in the desert by the pair only to be exhumed by the police in late May. Yet Salma is yet to come to terms with the tragedy. She can’t believe that her former husband and her ‘best friend in school’ Al Anoud would commit such a heinous crime.
“Why did they do it? Al Anoud was my best friend in high school. Even after my divorce, I remained in touch with her. We used to exchange text messages about when I could see my daughters without my ex-husband finding out,” Salma told XPRESS on Wednesday.
Asked if she was aware of the accusations her ex-mother-in-law had made against her, she shot back saying: “I heard she said I burnt Wadeema with hot water when she was two, what mother in her right mind does that?” Salma asked tearfully.
“I trusted Al Anoud to take care of my girls; she was my best friend, why did she torture them? Why? Why did their father do this to them?”
Salma claimed she did not realise her daughter was missing because whenever she called to inquire about Wadeema and Meera her ex-husband or Al Anoud would say that they were at their grandparents’ place and vice versa if the grandparents asked about the girls.
Besides Wadeema’s mother and uncle, coroner Dr Ashraf Ebrahim Hassan was also slated to testify as an expert witness.
“To determine the cause of death we normally look at muscles, surrounding tissues and veins. Wadeema’s body decayed at such a rate that there was no tissue or muscles left for me to pinpoint the cause of death, I can’t even determine whether she was killed or not. This is a fact the defence lawyers are likely to use,” Dr Hassan told XPRESS.
However Dr Hassan contended that the circumstances under which Wadeema died, along with the torture marks found on Meera’s body, and the confession of Hammad and Al Anoud point to no one but the two of them, never mind that Meera’s testimony might be enough to convict the couple.
“I examined Meera’s body, which was covered with burn marks, some older than others, there was a recent break in her right elbow, along with other injuries. She also looked to have been severely neglected, her hair was practically hacked at,” said the doctor.
On July 11, the court ordered Hammad and Al Anouod to undergo psychiatric evaluation after the defence lawyer claimed they were suffering from a mental disorder.
If found guilty the couple could face the firing squad.