DUBAI // A mother who buried her dead baby on a public beach because she could not afford the medical treatment that may have saved the child’s life, has had her two-year-sentence reduced to one year after filing an objection to the Dubai Criminal Court.
J?A, 30, a Filipina, was sentenced to two years in her absence, and applied for a reduction in sentence.
“I would have loved to provide my child with all the care it needed, but I was afraid of being dismissed from work if they knew I had a child out of wedlock and I also didn’t have the money for the medical care the baby needed,” J?A told judges, pleading for mercy.
The woman said she took her newborn to Zulekha Hospital because it was bleeding from the mouth and nose, but she was turned away after being told treatment would cost Dh26,000.
“We didn’t have that money, so we couldn’t get her admitted,” she said.
The next day, her boyfriend called to tell her the two-day-old girl had died.
That evening, the couple put the baby’s body in a shoebox and buried her on Jumeirah Public Beach, about 30 metres from the shore. J?A said she urged her boyfriend to report the baby’s death to police, but that he insisted on the burial. The baby was discovered by a lifeguard when the box was left partially exposed by the tide.
In court, the woman admitted to charges of sex outside of wedlock, endangering a child by failing to provide medical care and burying a body without a permit. The boyfriend faces similar charges but remains at large.
J?A asked for leniency from the court, saying she was in a state of shock.
Her boyfriend “took advantage of me to satisfy himself”, she said. “I know it was with my consent, but he used me, and when he refused to listen to my advice, he put me through trouble that brought me in front of you.”
Prosecutors said the baby girl was born on January 1, 32 weeks into the mother’s pregnancy. The mother, who worked at the Cooperative Union, gave birth at her work accommodation in Al Quoz.
The mother confided in a colleague, D?H, 29, also Filipina. “She told me the baby died after she started bleeding from her nose and mouth,” said the colleague. A week later the mother told the colleague she and her boyfriend had buried the baby.
The woman will be deported after completing her jail term.