A criminal court in Doha has sentenced a Qatari man to five years in jail for robbing a Nepali cab driver with two accomplices.
The defendant, who was convicted in absentia, was also fined QR3,000 for carrying a weapon “without a justification merited by occupation or personal necessity,” according to the written judgement.
Both newspapers state that the defendant is a GCC national. However, the official written judgement obtained by Doha News listed him as a Qatari citizen.
A little after midnight on July 1, 2013, the defendant was brought to the Al Rayyan police station for attacking and robbing a Nepali expat.
The victim, a driver, reported that three men assaulted him and stole his wallet when he gave them a ride the night before.
He testified that he had picked up two men, whom he thought were Qataris based on their attire, to drop them off at al-Sailiyya.
There, a third man hopped into the cab and they directed the driver to a deserted area. When he felt he was being ambushed, the driver started to turn the car around.
One of the men sitting in the backseat pulled the handbrake, which made the car lose balance.
The driver stopped the car and the defendant, who was in the passenger’s seat, beat him up in various areas of his body while the other man in the backseat tied him up.
One of the men in the backseat took the wallet out of the driver’s back pocket and together with his friend fled the scene.
The victim was left in the car with the defendant. As he was leaving the cab when al-Fazaa arrived, the Nepali driver said that he saw a small knife in front of his car and he assumed it belonged to one of the three attackers. He informed the police patrol of it.
It is not clear why the defendant did not flee the scene with others and how the police was contacted.
The driver stated that the stolen wallet had QR600, different cards and an unidentified amount of Filipino and Nepali currency.
According to the verdict details read by Doha News, when the Nepali driver was taken in for a medical examination six days after the accident, no recent or old injuries were found.
Testifying at the police station and before the prosecutor, the defendant denied assaulting and robbing the driver.
He also said that he did not know the two other men who committed the attack and theft.
According to his account, the defendant hailed the cab alone, and upon seeing the other two individuals waiting for a taxi, he asked the driver to stop and pick them up.
He confessed that the knife was his and that he carried it for self-defense purposes. He said that when the police arrived, he tossed it aside for fear of them finding it on his person.
Court proceedings on this case began in October 2013.
The defendant did not show up for any of the sessions, even though it was announced in court that he was notified of the dates at his “last documented address.”
It is not clear if the defendant was released on bail or his own recognizance pending the trial, and the prosecutor urged the court to issue its verdict after three hearings.
According to article 180 of the Qatari criminal procedure law, if the court is assured that a defendant has been notified of the hearing dates and has failed to appear in court, the judge has the right to give the verdict in absentia.
The written judgement states that the court found “nothing to prevent it from trusting the victim’s testimony which he delivered at the police station and the prosecutor’s office” and that it is “fully content” with this testimony as a foundation for its decision.
The defendant was charged under the Qatari penal code, Law 11 of 2004 and Law 14 of 1999 on weapons, ammunition and explosives.
It is not clear if he has been found and started serving his sentence or appealed it.