Dubai: The Dubai Court of First Instance has passed the death sentence on the father of Wudeema, the child whose torture and death shocked the UAE, while sentencing his mistress to life in prison.
Wudeema died at the age of eight after being subjected to horrific abuse which included being confined for months on end in a washroom.
Hamad S, 29, the Emirati father, and his partner, Al Anoud A, also an Emirati, were convicted of subjecting the children to relentless emotional and physical abuse, and torturing Wudeema to death after confining her in a washroom for a period of six months.
The pair also tortured seven-year-old Meera, leaving her with a 10 per cent permanent disability and inflicting horrendous burns and injuries to her body.
“The defendants turned the washroom into a sleeping and living place for the victims. They made them eat their excrement and drink their own urine after keeping them unfed and improperly nurtured,” the court said while passing the judgement.
“The defendants stripped themselves of any form of humanity, kindness or compassion and used all sort of unacceptable, mind-boggling and bizarre tortures and brutality. They tied their arms and legs, beat them with their hands and hard tools, burnt them with boiling water and/or heated ironing machine. They also tortured them with Taser guns and stubbed out cigarettes on their bodies in a heartless and insensitive manner,” presiding judge Maher Salama Al Mahdi said while pronouncing the verdict on Wednesday.
The clock struck 9:45am when presiding judge Al Mahdi called on the names of Hamad and Al Onoud to pass the judgement in courtroom three.
Al Onoud was present to the back of the courtroom. A policeman on duty in the court, Abdul Reda, told the judge that Hamad was absent.
Presiding judge Al Mahdi then read out the judgement in a clear and firm tone “The court has unanimously agreed to hand out a capital punishment against Hamad. Meanwhile, Al Onoud will spend a life term.”
The girls’ mother, Salma, was seen holding her hands in a sign of victory and appeared visibly happy at the verdict.
Wednesday’s judgement comes following seven months of deliberations in court.
Hamad will be executed by a firing squad as soon as the capital punishment becomes irrevocable and is endorsed by the Ruler.
Al Onoud appeared dazed and in tears as the sentence was read out.
Assistant Chief Prosecutor Shehab Ahmad earlier sought the death penalty for both accused.
Prosecutors charged the defendants of stripping Wudeema of her freedom and causing her death through gruesome torture. The pair, according to the charges sheet, buried Wudeema in an improper and illegal manner in Al Badayer in Sharjah.
However the court cleared the defendants of hiding Wudeema’s body.
The court-appointed lawyers, Hamdi Al Sheewi and Hani Al Jasmi, who defended Al Onoud and Hamad respectively, argued that their clients did not confine the girls or deprive them of their freedom because a Sharia court had earlier granted the girls’ custody to their father.
The lawyers sought leniency for their clients.
Gulf News obtained a copy of the verdict sheet, in which presiding judge Al Mahdi said: “The court dismissed the defendants’ argument that they beat the girls to discipline them without intending to kill Wudeema or injure Meera. The court deemed that the couple was aware of their actions and what bad could have resulted from their criminal actions… they were also aware of the potential dangers that were expected from that sort of unacceptable treatment.”
Initially, Hamad argued that he didn’t mean to kill his daughter and claimed that he treated the children well. He admitted he would beat or torture the children whenever they were disobedient.
Al Onoud initially pleaded not guilty but later she nervously admitted before the court that she was the one who committed all the excesses and sought a death sentence claiming full responsibility for all that had happened. She insisted Hamad didn’t do anything wrong.
Wednesday’s judgement remains subject to appeal within 15 days.