Three teenagers suspected of killing a Kuwaiti man at the Marina Mall on Thursday night pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder during a marathon interrogation that took place at the Hawally Prosecution Department from 9:00 pm Friday to 8:00 am the following morning.
Saad Thuwaini, who was identified as the prime suspect in the case admitted that he stabbed 24-year-old Jamal Al-Enizy with a knife, but denied murder intentions and argued that he acted in self-defense.
According to the preliminary interrogations’ transcript published by Al-Rai yesterday, Thuwaini and the other two suspects were first engaged in a fight in the mall’s crowded food court when they were “outnumbered by eight guys” following an altercation that escalated into a fist-fight. The three then escaped and walked towards the Marina Crescent where the crime took place. “My friend Abdullah Mubarak (the third suspect) was wearing two tee-shirts and he gave me one because mine was torn during the initial fight”, Thuwaini said during interrogations according to the transcript. The three stopped briefly before making their way down the escalator where they sought to exit the complex. “It was then that my friend Saad Faraj (the second suspect) accidently bumped into the victim and he became angry and pushed him. My friend pushed him right back and a fight ensued”, he said.
According to Thuwaini, the victim was the first to take a knife out as soon as Faraj pushed back. “At that point, my friend took out his own knife to defend himself”, he said, adding that Faraj soon fell on the floor, and that he had to step in to prevent the victim from stabbing him. “After that, the victim stabbed me on the shoulder, and I responded by snatching the knife from my friend’s hand and stabbed him on the shoulder as well”, he said.
The victim was pronounced dead on the scene from severe bleeding as a result of two fatal wounds in the upper chest area. According to Thuwaini, the man who was killed was not among those three suspects initially clashed at the mall’s restaurant area, which suggests that the two incidents had no relation with each other. He also noted both the fights happened 10 minutes apart. Furthermore, Thuwaini insisted that neither he nor his friends knew the victim, reiterating that he was only trying to protect himself and his friend. He added that the third suspect was standing at a distance when he stabbed the victim.
Police then interrogated the second suspect, Saad Faraj, who confirmed the prime suspect’s story and added that they both escaped when the stabbing happened, believing the man was only injured. Faraj further confirmed that the murder weapon belonged to him, and that he did not use it during the first fight “because no one else drew their weapons out”. He also said that Thuwaini did indeed snatch the knife from his hand when he fell onto the floor, but ruled out any murder intentions. When asked about the third suspect, Faraj said that he was standing at a distance after he participated in the first fight.
Officers then moved to question the third suspect, Abdullah Mubarak, who started by denying any intention of murder and went on to provide an identical story to that of Thuwaini and Faraj. He then explained that after handing the prime suspect his extra tee-shirt, he walked ahead of them and took the stairs while they took the escalator. He looked back after reaching the door but did not find them and didn’t expect them to be engaged in another fight. Mubarak added that he passed out soon afterwards since he’s anemic. Asked about what happened next, Mubarak said that he remembers being taken to Farwaniya Hospital where he received medical treatment while Thuwaini’s shoulder was tended to. He added that they sought the hospital’s detectives to file a complaint, and were advised to file a case against an anonymous assailant because they did not know the man.
Al-Rai also quoted attorney Sultan Al-Mandeel who was hired to represent the perpetrators in the case. “The picture became clearer following interrogations that lasted for 10 straight hours and rejected allegations posted on social networks regarding details of the incident”, he said before urging the public to not influence court verdicts without knowing the full picture.
According to Al-Mandeel, the perpetrators are all high school students and the third suspect, Abdullah Mubarak came first in class last year. Meanwhile, Al-Anba daily spoke to the prime suspect’s mother who shed light on the dark history of their bedoon family. “Saad is 17-years-old and 6 months of age. He finishes morning classes at a private school in Riggae, then spends the afternoon and night hours working as a roaming vendor”, she said.
According to the mother, Saad usually sells pirated CDs and vegetables in front of shopping malls after school and on weekends to help support his family since his father’s death six years ago, which left him with four younger siblings to look after. She further insisted that aside from casual tickets from Kuwait Municipality inspectors, her son has never had a criminal history.
Saad’s mother said that he opted to hang out with his friends on Thursday instead of selling CDs, citing “intensive municipality campaigns” as the reason. She further insisted that her son did not carry a knife that day. The same daily also spoke to Thuwaini’s uncle who confirmed that his nephew arrived home early Friday morning with three stab wounds which he had looked at. “[Thuwaini] told his mother that he was engaged in a fight and received treatment at the Farwaniya Hospital, but was not aware that the victim had died”, the uncle added.
The incident sparked strong public reactions in Kuwait, especially since it happened close on the heels of a similar murder at Avenues Mall earlier this year. The crime reignited calls for improved security at local malls and crowded public areas with many lawmakers criticizing the Interior Ministry for what they said was a failure to properly maintain security in a country of 3.8 million people.
Security sources quoted by Al-Rai yesterday revealed that security will be the main topic of discussion at the Cabinet’s meeting today after ministers are briefed with the latest updates regarding the crime. The sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity further indicated that, during the meeting, an Interior Ministry team is expected to reiterate demands for increasing police force, in addition to deploying a police team at malls, markets and leisure parks where fights take place regularly on weekends