With reporting from Riham Sheble
Fed up with delays in a nearly two-year-old case involving the death of an American teacher in Doha, a judge has called for a travel ban on six witnesses who have repeatedly failed to turn up to court.
A security guard in her building was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime a few days after Brown’s body was found in her apartment, half-naked and wrapped in a comforter on her bed.
The Kenyan defendant’s case has seen lengthy delays, in part because of his difficulty in retaining a lawyer. He appeared in court today with a new defender.
The absence of key witnesses is another factor that has contributed to the lengthy trial, which began in June 2013. At that time, a psychiatric evaluation was ordered for the defendant.
However, more than a year later, the doctor who spoke with the defendant has not appeared in court despite being summoned nearly half a dozen times.
The witness has submitted her evaluation to the court, but the defense said that due to discrepancies, he would like her to appear to clear up questions.
Five witnesses from the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Department have also been summoned to court.
A new panel of judges presided over the Brown case during this morning’s session, which took place four months after the previous one.
The presiding judge ordered that the six witnesses be notified to appear in court and said that they face travel bans until they testify during the next session. A seventh witness, the forensic doctor who conducted Brown’s autopsy, will not have a travel ban imposed on her.
If found guilty, the guard, faces the death penalty – though notably, Qatar has not carried out any executions in over a decade. The next session is on Dec. 7.