Knife killer loses appeal in Dubai against life sentence for murder

Feud prompted attack in cafe near Business Bay, police say

Eight men involved in a fatal stabbing in Business Bay lose their appeal in Dubai for a reduced sentence. Photo: Dubai Police
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An Israeli visitor to the UAE has lost his appeal against a life prison sentence for a premeditated murder resulting from a feud.

The Dubai Court of Appeal upheld the lower court's decision sentencing the main defendant – Hassan Yajori, who is 19 – to life in prison and five other Israelis aged 18, 22, 24, 25 and 50, to 10 years each.

The incident happened on May 24, 2023, near the Dubai Water Canal in Business Bay.

It involved an altercation at a cafe that resulted in the death of Israeli Ghassan Shamsyeh, 33.

According to evidence from a waiter at the cafe, the defendants had visited the venue for two days in a row before the incident.

On the day of the killing, they arrived, ordered lunch and shisha, and about 20 minutes later, the victim entered the cafe with a friend.

“After serving [them] their order, [I saw] one of them abruptly stand up, draw a knife and begin chasing the man who had just entered,” the waiter told the court.

He said the others followed, then Yajori stabbed Mr Shamsyeh, while the five others held Mr Shamsyeh's friend to stop him from intervening.

“I chased after them and witnessed one of them withdraw the knife from the victim’s chest amid a surge of blood.”

Although severely injured, Mr Shamsyeh fled to a car park about 150 metres away, seeking safety in a car.

He locked himself inside, and the attackers surrounded the vehicle.

All attackers were arrested that day. Some were detained at Dubai International Airport and others at Abu Dhabi International Airport as they attempted to flee the country.

The court heard testimony that Yajori had planned the murder, acquiring a penknife in his homeland and conspiring with his accomplices to travel to Dubai and carry out the attack, which resulted in a lethal five-centimetre stab wound to the victim's heart.

The court record said that Yajori held Mr Shamsyeh responsible for the deaths of a relative and a friend.

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the attackers.

They have been ordered to pay an initial Dh51,000 in temporary compensation, which may be increased if a ruling is issued against them in a civil case.

The defendants have the option to contest the sentence at Dubai’s Court of Cassation, the highest court in the emirate, within 30 days.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 9:17 AM