Dubai hands death sentence to child killer

DUBAI (AFP) - A Dubai court Monday sentenced to death a Jordanian man convicted of raping and killing an eight-year-old boy in a crime that shocked public opinion in the United Arab Emirates, media reported.

The Dubai court of first instance convicted 49-year-old Nidal Eisa Abdullah of kidnapping Obaida Sedqi from his father's garage on May 20 before raping and killing the boy, the local Gulf News daily said.

He was also ordered to pay 21,000 dirhams (S$7,684) to the victim's parents, the newspaper said.

Abdullah had admitted he raped and murdered the boy, also Jordanian, but denied kidnapping the victim, the Dubai daily said.

The defendant, who became publicly referred to as "Obaida's killer", claimed that the boy "had willingly sat with him in the car", it added.

According to Gulf News, Abdullah is said to have "lured the eight-year-old to his car by offering to buy him a scooter" before having forced sex with the boy and then strangling him.

But during one of the hearings, Abdullah told the court that he had mental problems.

"I was not conscious or awake and do not remember what happened that day," the daily quoted him as saying.

By law, the death sentence will automatically be appealed.

Although the law in the United Arab Emirates includes capital punishment, executions are rare in the Muslim Gulf country, where death sentences are typically commuted to life in prison.

But the country in July last year put to death by a firing squad an Emirati woman convicted of the jihadist-inspired murder of a US school teacher in a shopping mall toilet.

And in a case similar to that of "Obaida's killer", Dubai in 2011 executed an Emirati man found guilty of raping and murdering a four-year-old Pakistani boy in a mosque.