Kohail murder case

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Mohamed and Sultan Kohail

Mohamed Kohail - 1985 (age 31–32)[1]

Sultan Kohail 1991 (age 25–26)[1]
Saudi Arabia
Occupation Students
Criminal charge Mohamed Kohail - Murder [1]
Sultan Kohail Accessory to Murder
Criminal penalty Mohamed Kohail - Death by Beheading [1]
Sultan Kohail - originally sentenced to one year in prison and will receive 200 lashes[1] later overturned on appeal.[2]
Criminal status Released
Conviction(s) Found guilty by Saudi low level general court

Mohamed Kohail (born 1985) and Sultan Kohail (born 1991) are naturalized Canadian citizens born in Saudi Arabia. They lived there for 16 years before moving to Montreal, Canada in 2000 and gaining citizenship. Mohamed had been found guilty in a Saudi court for the murder of a 19-year-old Syrian boy, Munzer Hiraki, who died in a schoolyard brawl in January 2007.[3] Mohamed was sentenced to death and Sultan to 200 lashes. Their sentences were later commuted.

Incident, trial and aftermath[edit]

In January 2007, Mohamed and his brother Sultan were involved in a fight that broke out after a girl’s male cousin accused Sultan of insulting her.[4] The girl's cousin demanded an apology, but Sultan refused. Sultan, then 16, said he called for help from Mohamed when he was confronted by several boys over the insult.[4] According to the brothers' account, Mohamed Kohail arrived at the school with a male friend to face about a dozen of the girl’s male relatives and friends, some armed with clubs and knives.[4] A brawl started, and according to the victim's cousins, Sultan, Mohamed and another boy beat Munzer to death. No footage exists of that action, but clear footage showed the victim, Munzer, kicking Mohamed in the head.[5]

Their original trial before the General Court took place over nine sessions, lasting approximately 10 minutes per session.[3] Their lawyer was allowed to attend only the last one or two, and was not allowed to challenge the evidence brought against his clients.[3] During the hearing on March 3, the Kohail defense brought two witnesses but the court did not take them into consideration.[citation needed]

The Kohail defense team denied that Munzer died because of the fight but rather due to heart problems, as evidenced by the autopsy.[5] Munzer's mother presented a health certificate dated six months previously which indicated that he was in perfect condition. When asked why she had obtained a health certificate, Munzer's mother replied that her son needed a health certificate so that he could run in a marathon.[citation needed]

On March 3, 2008 the court sentenced Mohamed Kohail to be executed by public beheading.[6] In February 2009, the Saudi Supreme Court rejected the death sentence and asked the lower court to revise its ruling.[4] However, on April 2, 2009, the lower court rejected the recommendation of the higher court and reconfirmed the death penalty.[7]

In May 2013 the Ottawa Citizen reported that Mohamed Kohail had been released from prison in December 2012. The family never released a statement and the release went uncovered in Saudi Arabia itself.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Canadian a step closer to execution in Saudi Arabia". CBC News. November 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Second brother from Montreal faces beheading". © (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. Calgary Herald. August 14, 2008. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Document - Saudi Arabia: Further information on Death Penalty/ Fear of imminent execution". Amnesty International. 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Saudi top court rejects death sentence of Canadian". CBC News. February 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b Aubrey Harris (November 9, 2008). "Abolish the Death Penalty". Amnesty International Canada. Archived from the original on March 12, 2011. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  6. ^ "Canadian's sons may be beheaded in Saudi Arabia". Montreal Gazette. November 7, 2008. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  7. ^ "Saudi court upholds Montreal man's death sentence". CBC News. April 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  8. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (May 29, 2013). "CP exclusive: Canadian once slated for beheading in Saudi Arabia has been released from prison". The Canadian Press via Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved May 30, 2013.