Lawyers call for fire suspect release as court sets March 31 for verdict

February 24, 2010
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Al Khabbaz holds a bottle similar to the one allegedly used by the suspect to start the fire - Al Watan

The lawyers of the Kuwaiti woman who allegedly set a tent ablaze killing 57 women and children have called for her immediate release for lack of evidence as the court set March 31 for the verdict.

Nasra Al Enezi has been charged with starting in August a wedding fire tent in Jahra in the suburbs of Kuwait City in an act of revenge against her husband for taking a new wife. Nasra initially confessed to the crime, but later said that she was at home when the fire broke out and that her earlier confessions were made under coercion by investigators.

“There are many shortcomings in the incomplete investigation,” Zaid Al Khabbaz, one of the lawyers, told the court. “For instance, where is the taxi driver? Also, the maid, the only witness, said that she did not see the accused pour oil on the tent,” he said.

The police have been unable to locate the taxi driver who allegedly took Nasra to the site of the wedding, amid speculations that he was afraid of getting implicated in the crime. The only witness was an Asian maid working for the groom’s neighbour who said that she saw the accused carry a bottle with her.

According to preliminary investigations, she had filled the bottle with petrol from a station.

“This is a very painful moment because of the number of innocent people who were killed in the fire. We are all saddened by what happened and we again offer our sympathy to their families,” Al Khabbaz said. “However, we must be careful not to get carried away by emotions and led by people who have condemned our client and put her on trial through their imagination when they were supposed to be neutral and do their work dispassionately,” he said.

The lawyer said that Nasra and her husband had differences, and she sought to solve them through her limited knowledge.

“She took from her husband’s mother what she believed was magic incense to help overcome her domestic problems. However, the incense seemed to have the wrong effect since her husband left her and wanted to marry another woman. She decided to act to save her marriage by throwing a magic potion on her husband’s house and chase away the evil eye.

“On August 15, she went to her husband’s house in Jahra where she was shocked to see a wedding tent. She took a side street and sprinkled water on the house and used the incense. That was when the maid saw her. She then went back home.

“The fire broke out at 9pm and at that time, Nasra was at home. She was not anywhere near the tent and she had nothing to do with the fire,” Al Khabbaz said.

According to the lawyer, Nasra is an educated and naïve woman who is not even aware of what is happening around her.

“She did not even attend high school and her knowledge is limited. Whenever I met her in prison, she broke into a smile to tell me that everything was fine and that she was simply awaiting the verdict,” he said.

The case of the worst tragedy to strike Kuwait in peace time has deeply divided Kuwaiti opinion about what should happen to Nasra. While many have called for her execution for her alleged role in the death of innocent women and children attending the wedding, some voices said that she should be allowed to go home at a later stage, arguing her mental status and difficult conditions.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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