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Pakistani brothers held for murder

world Updated: Dec 21, 2007 17:46 IST
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Two Pakistani brothers had a bleak Eid after a court refused bail to them on charges of murdering another Pakistani at their home early this month.

Brothers Kasif and Asif Naheem may have to spend a further ten weeks in prison for allegedly stabbing the Pakistani national identified only as Butt and then dumping the body in a nearby lake.

Also charged is Kasif's South African wife, Aletta, 22, who has a six-month-old baby.

Aletta is central to the alleged outrage that caused Asif, 27, to stab Butt 40 times with a knife on the night of December 8.

The incident could easily become the plot for a Bollywood thriller.

According to statement made by Asif in court, on the fateful night, Asif found Butt, who was visiting them, in one of their bedrooms holding a knife to Aletta's throat and trying to force her to have sex with him.

Asif said he rushed towards Butt to aid his sister-in-law, upon which Butt lunged at him with the knife.

"I grabbed the knife and began stabbing him. I just kept stabbing and could simply not stop myself," Asif added.

The statement continued that Kasif, who was sleeping in another room, later woke and insisted on calling the police, but the family was scared and decided to dispose of the body themselves.

They washed the body, dressed it in clean clothes, and threw it into the Brakpan Dam, close to the area where the brothers ran an electrical business in the town, about 30 km east of Johannesburg.

Asif claimed that he had killed the deceased in self-defence, a claim supported by Aletta, but magistrate Colin Mashego said it was understandable to stab someone twice or thrice with a knife in self-defence, but that 40 stab wounds greatly exceeded the limits of self-defence.

Mashego declined the accused bail, despite their counsel, H van der Westhuizen, submitting that they would not flee to Pakistan.

Investigating officer Marthinus Smit testified that the accused had gone to great extremes to conceal the murder, while the prosecutor, Dick Hattingh, opposed bail on the grounds that although the accused had handed in their passports, it was very easy to obtain forged documents.

Mashego appeared to concur, saying that there was little preventing the accused from crossing into a neighbouring state, get travel documents there and then flee to Pakistan. The accused also had no fixed assets in Brakpan or South Africa, making it easy for them to pack up and flee.

The case has been adjourned till Feb 28 next year to allow further investigation and DNA tests. Counsel for the accused indicated that an urgent bail application would be brought before the high court in the next few days.