While on a fishing trip, a migrant suddenly attacked a man, brutally beheading him and leaving his decapitated corpse in the lake. However, after his sentence was announced, he claimed that the court “betrayed” him because of racism toward migrants.
A migrant from Myanmar has accused an Australian Supreme Court of racism and abuse of judicial powers after he was sentenced for the gruesome murder of his friend. Mohammed Khan, 33, was given life in prison after the court found him guilty of beheading Syeid Alam, who worked with his murderer at a meat processing plant in Rockhampton.
Khan slit Alam’s throat and decapitated him with a hatchet near the bank of the Fitzroy River before wrapping the severed head in a pair of jeans and dumping the corpse in the water. His motive for the brutal murder stemmed from an affair Khan’s wife was having with Alam’s brother, which prompted a heated argument between the killer and his victim.
According to ABC.net, the court heard that Khan had spoken with his victim’s brother, Sha Alam Sha Alam, at a mosque just weeks before the murder. Khan was angry that his wife and mother of their three boys, Supatri Supatri, had slept with Sha numerous times. During the trial, Sha testified that Khan had asked him about his possession of a nude photo of Supatri, which he claimed to have deleted.
The same explicit photo became the motive for Khan’s grisly attack. The Queensland Times reports that Alam had shown Khan the nude photo of Supatri to prove that his brother hadn’t deleted the image as alleged. Enraged, Khan attacked Alam, ultimately beheading him. The morning after the murder, Khan arrived at Alam’s home with a present of fruit and readings from the Quran.
Crown prosecutors Jodie Wooldridge and Joshua Phillips told the court that Khan had destroyed multiple pieces of evidence and repeatedly lied to investigators. However, they reiterated that he could be placed at the murder scene during the time Alam was killed and that the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming.
“He had the necessary skills and access to the tools to carry out an execution by such means,” Wooldridge said. “A cow had been slaughtered at his property and a tree had been chopped down and he was (then) in possession of an ax similar to the one located at the crime scene.”
“Who else has been shown to have plans that night with Syeid?” Phillips said. “Who else has been shown to have left their home at the right time to be the killer? Who else has been shown to have a strong motive, a strong motive for dispatching the older brother of the man who slept with his wife … the mother of his young kids.”
Despite the court’s ruling, Khan has maintained his innocence. In fact, at his sentencing, he interrupted the judges to accuse them of racial bias and conspiring against him.
“You have betrayed us because I am an outsider,” Khan told the hearing. “I know it is shocking but the system has betrayed me just because I am a foreigner — there was no evidence, there was nothing to prove that I was guilty — I don’t know how you proved that.”
Despite his accusations, the court wasn’t swayed by his plea. Justice Graeme Crow blasted Khan for his brutality and acknowledged that the beheading was carried out with expertise, as there were no other marks on the body.
“You’ve had a difficult personal history, you’ve been offered a new chance at life in this country and you were prior to this offence working in Rockhampton and contributing to this community,” Justice Crow told the court. “However, the murder of your close friend is truly shocking. The medical evidence in this trial shows it was a stealth attack, with no injuries shown on the corpse other than to the neck. The beheading of any human being is truly horrendous.”
Khan’s defense team had attempted to appeal to the judge’s sympathy by explaining the turmoil he has suffered as a migrant. He told the court that the Myanmar Army placed him into forced labor 20 years before he fled to Bangladesh and Malaysia, eventually boarding a boat to Australia.
Alam leaves behind a pregnant wife, who is due to give birth any day, and two boys, who are too young to understand why their father hasn’t come home. Khan’s wife has been left to raise their three sons alone since his incarceration.
Disturbingly, accusations of racism are too often used as a weapon to compel behavior and speech. Fortunately, it didn’t work with the judge in this courtroom.