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Death sentence review in policeman’s murder case

Bahrain News
Wed, 13 Apr 2016

A RETRIAL of a man sentenced to death for murdering a policeman by shooting him with a flare gun is now underway.

Maher Abbas Al Khabaz, 27, was found guilty of premeditated murder, attempted murder and masterminding an attack in which policeman Mohammed Asif Khan Afridi was killed.

He was handed an additional five-year jail sentence by the High Criminal Court in February 2014 for resisting arrest and weapons possession, although he could be executed before that sentence is completed.

Eight others were also jailed for their role in the attack.

However, the Cassation Court has ordered retrial of all defendants arrested in connection with the case due to doubts about their confessions.

As a result, the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court yesterday adjourned the case until May 11 for the submission of defence papers.

Six defendants, including two of Mr Al Khabaz’s brothers, were initially jailed for life for premeditated murder and attempted murder, but their sentences were later slashed to 10 years each on appeal because of “circumstances surrounding the case”.

However, the appeals court previously upheld life sentences handed down to two other Bahrainis, including Mr Al Khabaz’s third brother, who was also given a further five years and fined BD500 for stealing a flare gun from the shipping company where he worked.

Mr Afridi was killed at 10.50pm on February 14, 2013 during a wave of violence marking the second anniversary of anti-government demonstrations.

He was on duty in Sehla where police were confronted by a mob of 70 people armed with metal rods and Molotov cocktails. A forensics report stated two flares fired from the same gun were found where Mr Afridi was fatally wounded. All of the defendants earlier pleaded not guilty.

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