Two women sentenced to death for killing US citizen

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Hemwattie Abdulla, also known as “Annie” and her friend, Seerojini Permaul, known as “Usha”, were sentenced to death for the murder of Abdulla’s husband Abdool Shakeel Majid in 2012.

Wife of the deceased, Hemwattie Abdulla

The death penalty was handed down by Justice Sandil Kissoon in the Berbice Assizes.

Moments after the sentence was passed, the wife fainted and had to be resuscitated while her friend seemed helpless.

On March 13, 2018, the two were found guilty and the court postponed sentencing until Thursday, when a probation report on the two was to be presented to the court.

They were given the death sentence for unlawfully killing Majid, a US citizen, whose battered body was discovered on the Number 63 beach, Corentyne on April 26, 2012.

Following the presentation of the probations reports, Justice Kissoon said despite the circumstances which they experienced in life which could be considered unfortunate, the court cannot turn a blind eye to the circumstances which led to the death of the US-based taxi driver.

Seerojini Permaul

Speaking of the crime, Justice Kissoon told the two women that the crime was a planned and calculated event which lasted several months and evolved cross-border communication. The wife, he said, did not want to murder her husband in the US and so she contacted her former neighbour who she knew for over two decades.

He also noted that Permaul accepted US$5000. “The victim might have been alive today but for a few pieces of silver,” the Judge said.

Special Prosecutor Ganesh Hira represented the State, while Attorneys Mursalin Bacchus and Arud Gossai represented Abdulla and Attorney Nigel Hughes represented Permaul during the trial which lasted more than one month.

The prosecution’s case was that Abdulla arranged the murder of her husband for the money which he had received from an accident in the US and got Permaul to assist her in executing the plot.

However, Justice Kissoon in his ruling said although that evidence was led in the Magistrate’s Court during the Preliminary Inquiry, Attorney Bacchus successfully led evidence to forbid that bit of evidence from being told to the jury and as such, it is only a speculation.

Majid and his wife Abdulla had arrived in Guyana back in April 2012, with the intention of spending a two-week vacation.

However, five days after coming to Guyana, Majid’s battered body with the scalp missing was found on the beach.

By then, Abdulla had returned to the United States of America, where she is a resident and had informed relatives of the deceased that her husband was enjoying himself in Suriname and that he had urged her to return home as her daughter was ill.

It was a relative of the dead man who found his suitcase and other personal belongings including his passport at a house and the Police began a probe.

Meanwhile, the self-made widow fainted as she was waiting to be transported from court to the prison until the execution of the sentence.

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