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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Qatar court sentences mentally ill man to death for father’s murder

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Lower criminal court in Doha
Lower criminal court in Doha

A judge has convicted a Qatari man in his 20s on charges of murdering his father and sentenced him to death by firing squad.

Rashid Abdullah Rashid al-Nuaimi stabbed his father to death in 2014 while the two men were in a stopped vehicle with several of the younger man’s cousins.

The altercation apparently started during a disagreement during which al-Nuaimi’s father grabbed his son’s neck, Al Raya reported in December.

Al-Nuaimi testified in court that he was trying to break free from his father’s grip and, while feeling around the car, found the knife in the vehicle, the newspaper reported.

He said he momentarily lost control and only realized what he had done after stabbing his father.

Al-Nuaimi turned himself into police after the incident.

Mental health questions

The court previously heard that the defendant suffered from schizophrenia. Al-Nuaimi confessed to the crime, but argued in court that he should be found not guilty on the grounds of his mental illness.

However, two consultants from the psychiatric ward at Hamad Medical Corp. testified last November that the man was able to determine right from wrong at the time of the incident.

The two witnesses confirmed the schizophrenia diagnosis, but added that he should be held responsible for his actions, Al Raya reported at the time.

For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

As is frequently the practice in Qatar’s courts, the judge did not articulate the reasons for the verdict while reading out the judgment this morning.

A full written copy of the court’s decision is typically issued two to three weeks after the sentence is announced.

Today’s hearing had been postponed on several occasions because the court was waiting to consult with the victim’s wife – al-Nuaimi’s mother – over whether she wanted her son to face the death penalty or pay “retribution” if convicted.

Al-Nuaimi will remain in jail until his youngest brother reaches the legal age of consent and can weigh in on the death penalty decision.

This leaves open the possibility that al-Nuaimi’s sentence may be reduced to life imprisonment if the family changes its mind.

Additionally, Qatar has not actually executed anyone on death row in over a decade.

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