181224Azan Majid Janjua
Azan Majid Janjua Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Cassation Court yesterday upheld the death sentence of a Pakistani man for raping and brutally murdering an 11-year-old boy.

The court pronounced the final verdict after a 19-month trial. The Pakistani boy, Azan Majid, was raped and strangled by his uncle in May 2017, on the rooftop of the very apartment building in Abu Dhabi where he lived with his father. The convict was not present in the court at the time of the verdict.

During the Cassation Court trial, the accused, Mohsen Bilal, denied the charges of rape and murder. He even told the court in the previous trial that on the day of the incident, he was not in Abu Dhabi and all the accusations against him were false and fabricated. The police investigation, however, proved his crime.

The parents of the deceased boy and his grandfather were also present in court, when the verdict was announced.

Speaking to Gulf News after the verdict, Dr Majid Janjua, the boy’s father, said: “For long, we have been waiting for the judgement and finally the court delivered it. We are satisfied. We wanted the death sentence for the criminal who killed our son. Today, justice has been served.”

He said all members of his family were highly traumatised by the manner of his son’s death.

In the previous trial, both Dr Janjua and the boy’s grandfather took oath 25 times each under Sharia law, that as per evidence and forensic reports, it was the accused who raped and strangled his son to death.

The crime

Azan Majid Janjua went missing on May 30, 2017 and his body was later found on the building’s rooftop after three days, when an AC technician went up to check a malfunctioning chiller.

The criminal had disguised himself wearing an abaya, to hide his identity and commit the crime.

In the earlier hearing sessions, the accused and his court-appointed defence lawyer failed to produce any concrete evidence to prove his innocence.

The police and public prosecutors produced evidence, forensic reports including CCTV footage, a mental evaluation report and video recordings of the accused, and his finger prints on the rope which he used to strangle the child. All evidence found the accused guilty.

After evaluating the evidence and conducting cross-examinations in the case, both the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance and Abu Dhabi Appeal Court found the accused guilty and served the death penalty.

Dr Janjua had earlier told Gulf News that Azan was fasting for Ramadan and had gone to the mosque for afternoon prayers and Quran recitation, after which he went missing. Some neighbours had seen the boy returning from the mosque, but he never reached home.

Azan was Pakistani national Dr Janjua’s first child, born to his first wife, a Russian. After their divorce, Azan lived with his father in Abu Dhabi.

The mother was in Abu Dhabi when the tragedy occurred, in town to visit her son. She was also present in the court on Sunday, when the killer’s death sentence was upheld.