x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mum who buried baby on Dubai's Jumeirah Public Beach jailed

Woman sentenced to two years in prison for endangering the life of a child and sex out of wedlock.

DUBAI // A mother who did not have enough money to treat her dying baby and buried the girl's body on a public beach was sentenced to two years in prison this morning.

JA, 30, a Filipina, pleaded with judges at the Dubai Criminal Court to show mercy.

"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," she said.

Prosecutors said that the girl was born on January 1 this year, 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 birth was witnessed by her roommate MR, 30. "She put the baby in a bag so no one could see her when she left the accommodation," said the roommate. "The baby weighed about a kilogram."

JA took her newborn to Zulaikha Hospital as it was bleeding from its 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," said the mother.

The next day her boyfriend called to tell her the two-day-old girl had died and, that evening, the couple put the baby's corpse in a shoebox and buried her on Jumeirah Public Beach, about 30 metres from the shore.

The mother also confided in another colleague, DH, 29, also Filipina. "She called me one day after she left the accommodation and she was crying. She told me the baby died," said the colleague.

A week later the mother returned to her work accommodation and told DH she had buried the baby.

The colleague contacted police on January 10.

JA was found guilty of sex outside of wedlock, endangering a child by failing to provide medical care and burying a body without a permit. She will be deported after completing her jail term.

salamir@thenational.ae