Ebrahim Sedqi (third from left), father of Obaida Ebrahim, during funeral prayers at Al Sahaba Mosque in Sharjah. Image Credit: Arshad Ali / Gulf News

Sharjah, Dubai: It was a routine Friday evening for Jordanian Ebrahim Sedqi when he shut his vehicle workshop and went home.

His wife asked him about their eight-year-old son. The mother thought that the boy, Obaida, was at his father’s workshop on the ground floor of their building in Sharjah’s industrial area.

The couple soon realised that the boy was missing. What followed that evening and the next day was a frantic search in the neighbourhood and desperate phone calls to friends and relatives.

On Sunday morning, Sedqi was called to a police station in Dubai. He was shown an orange shoe and asked to verify if it belonged to his son.

Later that evening, the police announced that the boy was abducted and killed by a 48-year-old man identified as the father’s acquaintance.

On Monday, hundreds of friends and relatives gathered at Al Sahaba mosque in Sharjah for Obaida’s funeral.

“We don’t know [the suspect]. Only three weeks earlier, he had come as a customer to my husband’s workshop to get his car repaired. I did not feel comfortable about this man from the beginning and when my son disappeared, I felt he was the one behind his disappearance,” the boy’s distraught mother told Gulf News before the funeral.

The family on Monday sought the death penalty for the suspect.

“We hope he gets executed,” the mother said.

Forensic report

Maj Gen Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Chief, said that the boy's body was found in Al Warqa area.

“The forensic doctor found signs that the suspect attempted to sexually assault the boy and strangled him. There were also marks on his body that showed that he tried to resist his attacker,” he said.

The police also announced the arrest of a man suspected of committing the crime. The 48-year-old suspect identified as Nidal Eissa Abdullah Abu Ali, also a Jordanian, who is a friend of the boy’s father.

“A task force was immediately formed to search for the boy after receiving the report on Sunday 8am. The boy was found shortly after under a tree in Al Warqa area near the Academic City road, which falls under Al Rashidiya Police station jurisdiction,” he said.

Obaida was reported missing outside his father’s garage in Sharjah’s Industrial area at 6pm on Friday.

Dubai Police suspected Abu Ali within hours of finding the body, as he was the last person the boy was seen with.

The suspect had also changed his residence since the boy’s disappearance. Following procedures, the man was arrested, and Dubai Police found out he was involved in previous offences.

Lured by scooter 

Maj Gen Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said that confessed to his crime during questioning.

The man said he lured the boy at 7pm on Friday in front of his father’s garage by promising him to buy a scooter.

He then took the boy to Al Mamzar area in a car he borrowed from his building’s watchman, parked it and consumed alcohol.

He then asked the boy to take off his clothes and abused him. The boy screamed and told him he will tell his father about him.

“He tried to keep him quiet by strangling him with both his hand, then he used a Ghutra [part of an Arab headdress] to strangle him until he died,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.

The suspect drank alcohol till 5am on Saturday, then went home, leaving the boy dead in the backseat of the car.

Two hours later, at 7am, he took the car to Academic City road where he dumped the body, and threw away the other items used in his crime in different areas.

Sharjah Police had told Gulf News that the family first searched for the boy in the area before filing a missing complaint.

He also said that the family lived in the same building where the father runs a vehicle repair workshop in the industrial area.

Timeline: Preying on children

May 20, 2016: An eight-year-old Sharjah-based Jordanian boy Obaida Ebrahim is killed after an attempted sexual assault. His body is found under a tree in Al Warqa’a area in Dubai.

April 18, 2015: A 12-year-old Nigerian boy dies of internal bleeding in Dubai. A Nigerian businessman is accused of intentionally killing the boy, who lived with him, by repeatedly beating and torturing him.

May 2012: An eight-year-old Emirati girl Wudeema is tortured to death by her father and stepmother and her body left at the UAE-Oman border. She was tortured along with her seven-year-old sister.

December 21, 2010: Dubai Court of First Instance sentences a Bangladeshi cleaner to six months’ imprisonment after he is found guilty of molesting a nine-year-old girl in the women’s washroom at Dubai Festival City.

July 7, 2010: A guardsman is jailed for five years after a court convicts him of molesting a girl in a coma. He is found guilty of sleeping beside the girl in her hospital bed.

May 30, 2010: A teacher faces three years in jail after a court convicts him of molesting a 12-year-old Emirati schoolgirl at her family home.

May 3, 2010: A coach at a gym in a cultural club in Sharjah is sentenced to three years in jail to be followed by deportation for sexually molesting a nine-year-old girl.

April 20, 2010: A 45-year–old Egyptian teacher is charged with sexually molesting an Emirati schoolgirl in a tent in the garden of the family’s house while he was teaching her and her brother.

January 14, 2010: A visitor has been charged with kidnapping an eight-year-old schoolgirl after she left a Quran learning centre, and allegedly raping her in a parking area while she was holding the Quran in Dubai.

December 30, 2009: An Asian man in his 30s is arrested, detained and referred to the public prosecution for allegedly raping a mentally disabled boy while he was walking alone in Bur Dubai

November 27, 2009: A 30-year-old Emirati is convicted of the rape and premeditated murder of a Pakistani boy in the washroom of a mosque on the first day of Eid Al Adha. He was executed by firing squad.

November 23, 2009: Dubai Court of First Instance charges a 54-year-old Iraqi teacher with molesting a 15-year-old Emirati schoolgirl in the school kitchen while she was fixing herself a hot drink.

April 26, 2009: The father and stepmother of a nine-year-old girl, Nouf, are sentenced to seven years in jail for torturing the child in Abu Dhabi.

December 11, 2007: Dubai Court sentences two Emirati men to 15 years in prison for kidnapping and sexually abusing a 15-year-old French boy.

— Compiled by Gulf News Archives