A Qatar court has sentenced a 26-year-old Egyptian expat to seven years in jail and deportation following the death of his wife.
The verdict was handed down late last week on June 30.
Paramedics were called to the couple’s home last October after a domestic dispute and found the woman unconscious in the hallway.
In April, one responder testified that she was covered with a blanket and had a deep head wound. She also had bruises on her arm, a black eye and blue discoloration on her limbs, he said.
The court was told at a previous hearing that the woman died from internal bleeding due to repeated beatings, with bruising suggesting that these attacks were “repeated and severe.”
However, the defendant previously tearfully argued in court that he had not intended to kill his wife. The two had gotten into an argument and he tried to “discipline” her with the vacuum cleaner rod, his lawyer said.
The defense attorney added in his closing arguments in May that the woman pushed the man to the floor and ran into the kitchen.
She then apparently poured boiling water on herself, causing her to lose consciousness and fall, hitting her head.
However, this contradicts previous testimony from the defendant admitting to the prosector that he had also poured hot water on his wife.
The attorney also said the husband tried to stop the head wound from bleeding by applying coffee grounds to it and called an ambulance.
Paramedics told the court that they observed the defendant crying when they arrived, and urging them to save his wife.
Cause of death
According to the forensics report, the woman died of internal bleeding.
A medical examiner previously testified that the victim also had first-degree burns on 40 percent of her body.
She had other minor bruises from a vacuum cleaner rod, but this had to do with the domestic dispute that occurred before the boiling water incident, the defense attorney said.
He argued that there was no correlation between his client’s actions and the death of the woman.
He added that the paramedics mishandled the situation, making it harder to save the victim by injecting her with adrenaline and worsening her internal bleeding.
Because of these reasons and the fact that the victim’s father accepted monetary compensation (blood money) of QR75,000, the defense attorney asked the court for leniency in sentencing.
He emphasized the defendant’s young age, said he provides for a large extended family including the couple’s son, and that he has no prior record.
The court appears to have granted it, as the sentencing appears to be more in line with involuntary manslaughter charges than with a murder conviction.
Currently, cases of spousal and child abuse are covered under general assault laws, which experts said make it harder to investigate violence that takes place in the home.
In terms of attitudes about the practice, a 2014 government report found that there is some support for domestic abuse here, particularly among young men.
Some 16 percent of men and 7 percent of women living in Qatar say a husband is justified in “hitting or beating” their wives in certain circumstances, namely if the woman leave the house without telling her spouse or if she neglects their children, the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics said.