A pilot who took the life of his one-year-old daughter at a luxury hotel in Kazakhstan has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.
According to reports, Airbus captain Mohamed Barakat, 42, was drunk and on drugs when he fractured his baby’s skull and beat his wife Madina during a heated argument.
Witnesses said that Madina had fled the room after her husband beat her. CCTV footage showed the 23-year-old mother carrying her unconscious child into the lobby of the 5-star InterContinental Hotel before she collapsed.
The child was ‘blue’ and was found to be dead by medics called by hotel staff.
One staff member said that the mother had shouted: “He killed my child, he hit her!”
But Madina later reversed her testimony and said: “I have no claims against my spouse Mohamed Barakat. He could not hurt our child and moreover he was not capable of committing the crime.”
Madina pleaded: “I ask you to accept this statement as a basis for cancelling all the previous accusatory testimony made by me against my husband… Mohamed is the most loving and caring husband and friend. I love him with all my heart.
“You would probably think what kind of woman am I who protects her spouse who allegedly killed the child.
“However, this was not an intentional crime, he is not simply capable of causing harm, especially to Sophia.”
The mother also said that what happened “could only be negligence during an epileptic seizure.”
“Mohamed would not hesitate to give his life for Sophia. She was everything for him….It was an accident,” Madina expressed.
Barakat’s sister Sara also said that he “must have suffered a seizure,” adding: “We have no doubts in our minds or in our hearts that he is innocent.”
London-born Barakat, who was employed by a subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines, will serve the entire sentence in Kazakhstan jail, authorities said.
In a court statement issued by press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn, the pilot’s guilt was proved “by the testimony of a witness – a maid who heard the sounds of banging on the wall, after which the crying of the child fell silent.”
Judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev said that the wounds were caused by “repeated impact with hard objects and surfaces, and could not be obtained from a fall.”
There was also “no evidence” the father had previously suffered from epilepsy and a secret stash of cannabis was found in Barakat’s hotel room.
The pilot insisted that he was innocent.
“Just because you have the power to put me in prison, that doesn’t mean you have the power to make me guilty,” he told the court.
“It means you will put an innocent man in prison.”
He added: “I would never hurt my own daughter. I was the first person who saw Sophia coming into this world… I was going to teach her how to fly…”
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