Dubai: A worker who murdered his sleeping colleague claiming he preferred jail over returning to his home country, was sentenced to life in jail by the Dubai Court of First Instance on Monday.

The 27-year-old Pakistani defendant argued that someone recorded him naked and sent the clip to his brother in Pakistan who then asked for him to return home. The defendant however refused and said he instead killed one of his workmates in order to get jail time.

Dubai Police was called when a fight broke out between workers at a construction site in Rashidiya in February this year. The victim was rushed to hospital in an ambulance but died on the way.

“Workers said they saw the defendant strangling the victim with a piece of fabric,” said a police officer. “The defendant confessed to the murder and said he killed his sleeping workmate during their break. He didn’t want to return to his country after having a dispute with his family,” added the officer.

The defendant told the officer that someone filmed him naked and sent the video to his brother who summoned him back to Pakistan.

“The defendant said he didn’t have any problems with the victim but he wanted to commit a crime to go to jail and not return to his country,” added the officer.

The defendant confessed that he chose the Indian victim because he was old and would not be able to put up a fight.

An Egyptian worker said: “I saw the defendant sitting on the victim and strangling him with a piece of fabric. I shouted at him to stop and moved him away with the help of another worker, but he returned to the victim and strangled him.”

The defendant will be deported to his country after serving 25 years in jail.

The verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days.