More than three years after the murder of Lauren Patterson in Qatar, the case against her killer appears to finally be coming to a close.
Badr Hashim al-Jabar is currently being retried for his role in the October 2013 stabbing death of Patterson.
During a hearing this week, a judge set closing arguments for next month.
In 2014, a criminal court convicted Al-Jabar of murdering the 24-year-old British teacher and sentenced him to the death penalty.
During that trial, Al-Jabar had been accused of having sex outside of marriage with Patterson and stabbing her to death.
Qatar’s Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s verdict in 2015.
However, last year, the ruling was vacated by the Court of Cassation, which ordered a new trial.
‘Glimmer of hope’
Monday was the sixth session of Al-Jabar’s retrial, which was postponed several times after witnesses did not show up to court.
During the latest hearing, the presiding judge set a Feb. 26 date for closing arguments, Patterson’s family told Doha News.
The move was seen as a small victory for them.
Previously, they had been frustrated by the defense’s strategy to recall witnesses and raise evidence that had already been introduced during the first trial and at the appeal.
For their part, Al-Jabar’s attorneys have maintained that Patterson’s death was an accident, and that his confession was coerced.
Speaking to Doha News, the victim’s mother Alison Patterson, who has been flying into Qatar for most of the legal proceedings, said:
“(I’m) feeling a lot more positive that we are finally on a path that is leading to justice for Lauren. (I’m) feeling at long last that there is a glimmer of hope that the hearings could finish this year.”