x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Jail term suspended for Dubai maid who suffocated baby in suitcase

A maid who smothered her newborn to death out of fear of prosecution has been given a suspended one-year jail term by the Criminal Court.

DUBAI // A maid who suffocated her newborn baby by hiding it in a suitcase was yesterday sentenced to a suspended one-year jail term by the Criminal Court.

J?A, a 29-year-old Ethiopian, became pregnant by A?K, a 35-year-old driver from India, in August last year while both were employed by an elderly Emirati couple living in Al Mutaineh 2.

The maid kept the pregnancy secret from her employers because she was afraid of being punished for having sex outside of marriage and gave birth alone in her room on April 24.

She tried to hide the baby from her sponsors by putting it in a suitcase, causing the child to suffocate to death.

She claimed the baby was stillborn, but a postmortem examination showed the child was born alive and was breastfed at least once before dying of suffocation.

The baby’s body was discovered after her employers grew suspicious of the number of breaks she was requesting and searched her bags while she showered.

When the maid realised what they were doing she rushed out of the bathroom to stop them.

She then grabbed the baby's body, which was wrapped in a black shayla, and tried to flee.

But the family chased and caught her and discovered the baby's body. They then called the police.

The police officer who visited the house said the maid told him that she hid the baby because she was scared she would be punished for having an illicit relationship and illegitimate child.

As the jail term was suspended, the maid will be deported immediately.

salamir@thenational.ae