17 Indians get death for UAE murder

DUBAI: Seventeen Indian nationals have been sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani man in a turf dispute between bootleg liquor gangs in Sharjah

in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), local media reported today.

The Pakistani man was beaten to death with metal bars in January 2009, while three others were injured in the attack, The National newspaper reported.

It said the dispute was between members of rival gangs vying to sell illegal liquor to labourers in the Al-Sajaa area of Sharjah.

The sentences marked the highest number of death penalties handed down at one time in

the emirate, The National cited some court officials as saying.

Local media said that

up to 50 people were involved in the attack, but those sentenced to death were found to have been the leaders.

Death sentences are usually commuted to life in prison in Sharjah.

Alcohol is banned in

the emirate, which lies north of Dubai, where liquor can be sold by bars and restaurants with special permits. However, Dubai has also witnessed bootlegging violence.

The National newspaper reported in February that 13 members of an

alleged bootlegging gang from the Jebel Ali

area were accused of

kidnapping two rivals, raping them and burying them alive.