The past week was witness to a tragic incident in the UAE’s capital. On the first of December a women, a US national, was fatally stabbed by a suspect wearing an abaya and niqab, the traditional cloak worn by women and a full face covering. You can read the full background here at The National.
This incident is unique; the country is known for its safety for both nationals and expatriates. A major operation was launched by Abu Dhabi police to locate and capture the suspect(s). Two days following the killing, Abu Dhabi Police shared with the media and via their YouTube channel CCTV footage from the mall of the suspect entering and leaving the location. The video has been seen more than two million times in the space of 48 hours.
The next day, on the 4th of December and 48 hours after the murder, the Ministry of Interior made the announcement that everyone was waiting for. The suspect had been caught. The Ministry shared more details of events on that day, including how the suspect had placed an explosive device outside the flat of another American national.
But that wasn’t all. Abu Dhabi Police shared a video, which was an edit of the CCTV footage along with video from the raid on the house where the suspect was arrested. Do watch the video, which is posted below.
Personally, I’ve never seen such footage broadcast before a trial has begun. The video, which runs for over six minutes and has now been watched almost two million times, plays music for dramatic effect on top of the footage.
I have a number of questions and issues, which I’d like your opinion on. Firstly, was the timing right? The video sends out the message that we will catch the perpetrators of such crimes as soon as is possible, but how will this affect a family which is still grieving? Secondly, does this prejudice the defence’s case and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty?
Most importantly, the video doesn’t answer why the crime was committed. If certain individuals hold views that are anti-foreigner, how are these views to be addressed?
For me, there’s more questions than answers about this case. I’d love to hear your feedback.
Putting music on the video is just poor taste. The video should be released to aid with the investigation, and if/once the suspect has then been caught, it should be left to the courts to use as evidence – it is not ‘entertainment’.