Awad kidnappers face up to 15 years in prison

POSTED: 09/1/11 3:02 PM

Defendants tortured Israeli and attempted to kill a second man

St. Maarten – Roberto Francisco Gumbs, Isidro Eddison Josepha and Jeannot Sanon all professed their innocence in the Court in First Instance, but when the smoke cleared, Josepha was facing a demand for 15 years of imprisonment, Gumbs 11 years and Sanon 6 years. Judge mr. M. Keppels will pronounce her verdict in three weeks time, on Wednesday September 21. The defendants stood trial for kidnapping and torturing Nael Othman Awad, a 36-year-old who was born in Nablus on the West Bank on December 16, and for kidnapping and attempted manslaughter on a man called Murray on January 3 of this year.
On December 16, Awad was accosted at his home by the suspects. They threatened him with the words “don’t fucking move. Be calm,” duct-taped him and blindfolded him, rolled him in a blanket and stuffed him in a car before taking him to a home in Middle Region. There, Awad was duct-taped to a chair. The kidnappers burned his ears with cigarettes and put a hot iron on his leg.
The kidnappers robbed Awad of $50 and €50 before taking him to a man called Tito in Cole Bay. Near the ACE hardware store, Awad managed to escape. The charges against the kidnappers also mention an attempt to extort drugs from the victim.
All players in this remarkable crime knew each other. The defendants who were in court yesterday are Roberto Francisco Gumbs, 36, Isidro Eddison Josepha, 27, and Jeannot Sanon, 22, who was sentenced in March for a burglary at the Sun Color building.
In March 2007, the Court in First Instance sentenced Awad to 48 months of imprisonment for his role in a drugs smuggling ring that used the cruise liner Mariners of the Sea to bring marijuana from Jamaica to St. Maarten, and cocaine from St. Maarten to the United States. Six others were sentenced at the time together with Awad.
In prison, Awad got acquainted with Isidro Eddison Josepha, who told the court in April that he had shared a cell with him for sixteen months.
Sanon was not involved in Murray’s kidnapping in January. This happened in Pelican Key. Gumbs and Josepha threatened their victim with a gun, tied him up and put him in the back of his own jeep. But Murray managed to escape all the same near the Flamingo Hotel. While he fled from the car, Josepha fired shots at him, putting the lives of tourists who were in the neighborhood in danger as well.
Gumbs has a 2011 conviction for armed robbery of 12 years to his name. Josepha was convicted in 2006 to five years for robbing Murray.
Prosecutor mr. B. den Hartigh considered the charges against all defendants proven. He acquitted Gumbs of the manslaughter charge, and included a charge for weapons possession in the charges against Josepha.

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