‘Najwa should suffer same fate’

CAPE TIMES

Reporter: Karen Breytenbach

While some close relatives of slain music icon Taliep Petersen were satisfied with the 28-year jail term meted out to his widow Najwa for his contract killing, Petersen’s daughter, Jawaahier, said his children would only be satisfied if their stepmother was made to suffer the same cruel fate as their father. “The Qur’an says an eye for an eye, so unless she was tied down, made to beg for her life and still shot like an animal, I’d never be satisfied,” she said. The young television presenter said no amount of jail time would bring her father back, so her stemmother “could’ve been given a holiday in Jamaica for all I’m concerned”. Petersen’s sister, Maatoema Groenmeyer, said she felt the sentencing was failr. “We are thankful to God that He has spared our father (Mogamat Ladien petersen) long enough to see that justice was done,” Groenmeyer said. “We went through two years of searing pain. It was an emotional rollercoaster. We’re relieved it’s over.” Groenmeyer said the court still needed to decide in whose care to lace her niece, the Petersens’ nine-year-old daughter Zainub, but if the child was to stay with her, she would give her a stable and loving home. Mogamat Ladien petersen, who was swamped by well-wishers, said he was glad the case was over and was “quite satisfied” with the outcome. The Petersen family reacted to Judge Siraj Desai’s sentencing as hundreds of supporters and dozens of photographers and journalists descended on them outside the Cape High Court yesterday. Najwa Petersen’s children did not wish to make any public statements. A large crowd remained standing in the street for another two hours, waiting for the vans in which Petersen and her three co-accused were being transported to leave the police compound at the court. As the large wooden gates opened and two vans with sirens blaring sped out, the crowd screamed wildly and hammered on the windows with their fists. Addressing the packed and restless public gallery, Desai sentenced Najwa Petersen to concurrent sentences of 28 years for murder and 10 for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and co-accused Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi to concurrent sentences of 24 years for murder and 10 for robbery. Waheed Hassen was handed 24 years for murder, 10 for robbery and three for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Two of the three years are to run concurrently with the 24 and 10 years, bring his term to 25 years.  Jefferson Snyders, who was convicted only of robbery, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, three of them suspended for five years. Although Petersen’s status was not held as an aggravating factor in sentencing, Desai noted that his murder was the abrupt end of the life of “one of Cape Town and the music world’s favourite sons”. Petersen was “at the height of his career” and “a devoted son and a much-loved father”. It was shocking that Petersen had been killed in such a “callous” manner, tied up and humiliated, by a wife he prayed for each night, Desai said. He took into account that Najwa Petersen was 46, a first offender and the mother of a minor child. He also considered the submission by forensic criminologist Irma Labuschagne that Petersen may have become emotionally blunted from years on prescription psychiatric medication. Desai, however, pointed out that there was no clear evidence about Petersen’s mental health and that information on this question presented at Petersen’s bail hearings was “contradictory”. He agreed with the prosecution that she had flasely painted herself as emotionally unstable and vulnerable. She had “pestered” Fahiem Hendricks, the organiser of the hit who turned state witness and “played an active role on the scene”. Emjedi, 42, was a first offender, and had been in custody for 20 months. Although he was not at the crime scene, he had “played a vital role” in the planning. Not showing remorse counted against him, said Desai. Hassen, 36, was also in custody for 20 months and had been convicted before, more than 10 years ago. Desai said Hassen had “displayed some moral integrity” by “readily conceding” his guilt and “profusely apologising” to his victim’s family. This would not allow him to escape a harsh sentence, however. Snyders, 33, had only a previous conviction of drunk driving, and was a family man who came from a good family. But, Desai said, Hassen and Snyders could have avoided becoming involved. Each of the four is to be eligible for parole after serving two thirds of their sentence. In a statement, the Director of Public Prosecutions congratulated Captains Joe Dryden and Jonathan Morris and Superintendent Godfrey Wagter of the Police’s Organised Crime Unit and prosecutors Shireen Riley and Susan Galloway for their “excellent work” and “dedication”.