x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Filipina jailed for illicit relationship

An Ajman court has sentenced a married Filipina to one month in jail for having an affair.

An Ajman court has sentenced a married Filipina to one month in jail for having an affair. WC, who complained she had been raped but ended up in an Ajman prison in April, was sentenced on May 25, according to Ahmed Bajunaid, a Philippine consular officer in Dubai. He said she would be deported soon as she had in effect already served her sentence. "She will be sent home to Manila this month," he said. "All she needs now is an airline ticket and we will be requesting our community leaders for help."

The Philippine government often helps arrange airline tickets home for its citizens who are deported from other countries, except in criminal cases, but the process can take weeks, so charity groups sometimes step in to help. The consulate said a police investigation concluded the man the Filipina accused of raping her, an Indian national, was her boyfriend and that the relationship was consensual. It is understood that he was also sentenced to a month in prison followed by deportation.

Migrante, a Filipino migrant rights group, had called on the Philippine government to send legal attachés to the Middle East after the case was brought to their attention last month by the woman's husband in the Philippines. He was reportedly worried because he had not heard from her since early April. "We are still waiting for a reaction from the woman's husband who had asked our assistance last month," said John Leonard Monterona, the Middle East co-ordinator for Migrante, after learning about the verdict.

He added that whether or not the woman was at fault, "the Philippine Consulate in Dubai should have recommended to the [Philippine department of foreign affairs] the provision of a legal assistance fund". WC, who had arrived in Dubai in late March to take up a position as a hotel chambermaid, had wanted to return home when she was made to work as a housemaid instead. The husband was told by the recruitment agency in late April that his wife had made the allegation of rape by an intruder, but had been "jailed for lying" after a medical examination proved negative for the alleged assault.

On the same day, the husband received a phone call from WC, who told him that she had been raped. Officials from Ajman Police had confirmed the case but declined to provide further details, explaining that it was being dealt by the criminal courts. rruiz@thenational.ae