x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Man and niece fight jail sentence

Pair were given five years in jail for consensual sex - though the usual punishment is one year, they were treated more harshly because of the incest.

ABU DHABI // A 40-year-old man and his niece appeared in court yesterday to appeal against their five-year prison sentences for consensual sex.

MK, from Pakistan, and his 25-year-old niece - his brother's daughter - were convicted last month by the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance. Prosecutors said the two had sex on three occasions.

Both confessed to police and prosecutors. It was not clear where or how they were arrested.

They pleaded not guilty to the Sharia charge of zina (sex outside marriage). The charge carries a sentence of death or lashes, but requires four reliable witnesses who actually saw the offence, or consistent confession.

They were instead convicted of the UAE law offence of consensual sex. The usual sentence is one year, but they were treated more harshly because of the incest.

At yesterday's hearing, they both pleaded not guilty, asking the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal to reduce the sentence. Security was unusually tight, with the pair held beforehand in private rooms away from other inmates.

The trial was adjourned until December 28.