In a major relief to 17 Indians facing death row in the UAE for killing a Pakistani national in Sharjah, the sole witness today failed to identify any of those convicted by a lower court in Dubai.
"Pakistani national Mushtaq Ahmad, who was summoned by the court to identify the convicts, failed to identify any of the Indian nationals," Bindu Suresh Chettur, the lawyer handling the case on behalf of 17 Indians told PTI.
In March this year, the 17 were found guilty of beating the Pakistani national to death and injuring three others during a fight in January 2009 in Sharjah.
Chettur expressed satisfaction over today's development and said their defence is beginning to yield results.
"The doctor who had conducted the post-mortem on the victim's body also said he had consumed a lot of alcohol (around 200 ml)," she added.
We also argued the fact that the convicts were never presented before the judge and were only interrogated by the police, she said, adding the court has now set October 13 for the next hearing when more testimony will be heard.
"Biological experts and police officials have also been asked to remain present during the next hearing," she added.
Other sources who were present during the proceedings said that the defence has emerged stronger from today's proceedings as Mushtaq Ahmad is the only witness present in the country.
"The other two witnesses are in Pakistan and couldn't appear today whereas the fourth is now dead," a source said at the condition of anonymity.
"Even Mushtaq couldn't identify anyone because it was already dark and he said he couldn't see anything. There were 30-40 people at the spot and he couldn't single out any," he said.