A Doha court has sentenced four Egyptian men in absentia to 15 years in jail for abducting one of their Qatari sponsors, robbing him and forcing him to sign exit permits that they used to leave the country hours later.
The judgment against the group was read out in court on April 30, but the full written verdict only came to light recently.
Muhammad Hamdi Abdaldaim, Abdulaziz Fathi Abdulaziz, Ahmad Hamdi Shehata and Muhammad Fathi Abdulaziz were all found guilty of charges related to abduction, confinement, torture, breaking and entering as well as a weapons offense for their roles in the incident, which took place the morning of July 3, 2013.
Abdulaziz Fathi Abdulaziz was also convicted of an embezzlement-related offense, sentenced to an additional three years in prison and fined QR10,000.
The judicial panel, led by judge Abdullah Ali al-Emadi, acquitted the men of an additional charge of attempted murder.
The verdict, which was first reported this week by Al Raya, noted that the relationship between the convicted men and their sponsor was “tense,” but offered few details about what led up to the attack.
Several months of testimony earlier this year by other witnesses suggested the crime was planned in advance.
Abdaldaim, Abdulaziz Fathi Abdulaziz and Muhammad Fathi Abdulaziz were all under the sponsorship of the victim’s company, which was not named in court documents. Shehata, meanwhile, was sponsored by the victim’s brother.
The victim testified in court that he had been sleeping in his home when he was woken up around 5:30am by the four men entering his room.
He said they immediately started attacking him, with one of them sitting on his stomach and punching him, fracturing his right eye socket and lower vertebrae.
During the assault, he said he was able to identify his assailants by their voices.
The witness said he was taken to a room in his father’s house where the defendants resided. There, he said he was blindfolded, wrapped in a duvet and bound to a chair with wire and tape before being beaten further.
He added that eventually, the defendants untied his right hand and forced him to sign several documents, which later turned out to be exit permits.
He said the men took QR7,000 (US$1,922) from him and drove away in his Lexus and pickup truck, both of which were later recovered by police from the parking lot of Doha International Airport.
The verdict says that a fingerprint, matching Abdulaziz Fathi Abdulaziz’s left index finger, was found on the door of the car.
Another witness testified that Abdulaziz Fathi Abdulaziz, who had some financial responsibilities at his company, received QR22,000 ($6,041) before the incident to pay two other employees their end-of-service gratuity. That payment was never made and the money never recovered, the witness said.
All the men left Qatar at 2:18pm the day of the attack and were not in court during their hearings.
It’s unclear if Qatar and Egypt have an extradition treaty under which Doha could ask Cairo to send the convicted men back to the Gulf country to serve out their sentences.
Relations between the two countries have been frosty in recent years.
The court verdict made no mention of how its ruling would be enforced.