Dubai: Eighteen inmates have been accused of ganging up against one of Dubai’s most notorious criminals and stabbing him to death at Dubai Central Jail in August 2012. The victim was stabbed 37 times.

Known by Dubai Police for his long criminal record, the 43-year-old Emirati victim, A.H., was said to have had his ear and finger chopped off, and neck, back, stomach and shoulder gashed in a suspected revenge attack in Dubai Central Jail.

The 18 defendants are 14 Emiratis, a Ukrainian, an Uzbek, a Pakistani and an Afghan. A pair of Emirati brothers, 35-year-old R.S. and his younger brother M.S., and 30-year-old A.G. and his elder brother R.G., were said to have led the deadly attack. Prosecutors said the 18 inmates planned the murder and equipped themselves with weapons before surrounding A.H., throwing him to the floor and stabbing him to death.

Records said some defendants circled the victim and the assailants prevented other inmates from intervening to stop the fight that lasted nearly 15 minutes according to witnesses.

The deadly attack, according to prosecution records, was preceded by a group fight between a separate group of five inmates (two Russians, a Georgian, an Uzbek and a Kyrgyz) who scuffled with another group from among the 18 inmates.

The five inmates were charged with attempting to murder R.S.

According to the charge sheet, prosecutors accused the 23 defendants of exchanging blows.

Some of the defendants were said to have ganged up with A.H. and attacked other inmates from the 18 defendants.

Chief Prosecutor Khalid Al Zarouni has asked for the implementation of the toughest punishment applicable against all the defendants. The suspects charged with murder could face the death sentence.

Most of the defendants showed up before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday but did not enter a plea.

The list of charges will not be read out until the court appoints lawyers to defend the suspects.

Police took extra security measures at Dubai Courts considering the sensitivity of the trial.

Records said the incident, which happened during last year’s Eid Al Fitr started with a group fight.

A.H. was serving a three-year jail term after he was convicted (along with others) of chopping off R.G.’s finger with a cleaver.

Witnesses testified that R.G. led the revenge attack along with his brother and the other Emirati brothers (R.S. and M.S.) using food trays, mops and brooms as weapons during the attack.

R.M. is accused of using a tray to slice off A.H.’s ear and stab him in different parts of his body. Witnesses also claimed that they overheard several of the defendants saying that R.G. had vowed not to forgive A.H. for chopping his finger and decided to take revenge by chopping off any of the victim’s organs.

A police captain told prosecutors: “We were informed that a group fight erupted at the jail’s second building. One of the officers informed me that A.H. had been beaten to death. I rushed to the location and saw the victim wrapped in a blanket and bleeding profusely. An ambulance rushed him to hospital but he died shortly before arrival. One of the inmates claimed that the pair of brothers had decided to kill A.H. two weeks prior to the incident… they had agreed to kill him on Eid. The witness claimed that R.G. had vowed to take revenge after A.H. chopped off his finger.”

Records said the 18 defendants sneaked behind an Indian prisoner into the building, although they were not allowed to be there. Then they ganged up against A.H., who had pitched in to help a few of his Russian inmate friends who were in another fight.

Witnesses said the defendants (who are accused of killing A.H.) ganged up against the victim, took him into a corner that was not monitored by surveillance cameras and assaulted him.

The court reconvenes on October 29.