Women face Oman death sentence

Two sensational murder cases in Oman involving two Western women have been referred to the grand mufti for a final decision on their fate, which could include a death sentence.

    Fate of suspects in two murder cases will be decided in July

    An Omani criminal court reached a verdict on Saturday against Dana Gerlish, a German physiotherapist, and her wheelchair-bound Omani alleged lover – both in their 30s – were accused of murdering her father, according to a court source.

    The prosecution had alleged that Gerlish, who pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, decided to have her father killed because he opposed the relationship with her alleged lover, whose name has not been divulged in Omani media.

    Gert Manfred Gerlish, 53, a car mechanic, was shot in the head at point blank range in Muscat's upmarket Qurum district in early December.

    Mufti review

    The verdict will only be made public on 17 July the source said, requesting anonymity.

    Grand Mufti Shaikh Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Khalili has 60 days to "look into the case and give his opinion," before it can be publicised, the source added.

    The mufti is authorised either to uphold the sentence or reduce it. He reviews such cases along with the sultanate's top two legal and criminal affairs advisors.

    Referring a verdict to the grand mufti "is a normal procedure in cases where the death penalty is involved," the source said. "You can only deduce that it's the death penalty."

    Husband killed

    Minutes after the verdict was reached in the German's trial, the court made another confidential ruling in the case of an American accused of killing her husband.

    The verdict against Rebecca Thompson, 43, will also be made public on 17 July.

    Thompson's son by a previous marriage, William Derek Green, 14, and two 17-year-old Omani boys, were also charged in connection with the case. All three pleaded not guilty.

    Oil worker Mark Lee Thompson was battered to death on 30 December last year and his body partly burnt.

    During the trial, which concluded 21 April, Thompson's wife claimed she was provoked into hitting and killing her husband with an iron bar.

    Defence lawyers hope "provisions of the penal code related to provocation" may reduce the wife's sentence to a year, a legal source said at the time.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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