x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Mother who buried baby on Dubai beach loses appeal against jail term

A mother who buried her dead baby on Jumeirah Public beach loses her appeal against her one-year jail term.

DUBAI // A mother who buried her dead baby, born out of wedlock, on a public beach has lost an appeal against her one-year jail sentence.

J A, 30, a Filipina, said her child died because she could not afford its medical treatment and was too scared to seek help. She buried her in a shoebox on Jumeirah Public Beach.

“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 told judges in a plea for mercy.

She said she went to Zulekha Hospital as the baby was bleeding from her 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 shoe box and buried her on the Jumeirah Public Beach, about 30 metres from the shore.

She said she urged her lover to report the baby’s death to police, but he insisted on the burial. The body was found by a lifeguard when it was exposed by the tide.

At her original trial 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.

Her lover faces similar charges but remains at large.

Prosecutors said the girl was born on January 1 this year, 32 weeks into the mother’s pregnancy.

The mother, who worked at the Co-operative Union, was seen giving birth at her accommodation in Al Quoz by her roommate M R, 30.

“She put the baby in a bag so no one could see her when she left the accommodation,” recalled the roommate. “The baby weighed about one kilogram.”

The mother also confided in another colleague, D H, 29, also a Filipina.

“She told me she took medicine to help her give birth at her room in the accommodation,” recalled the colleague, who said the mother had previously lived in Al Satwa with the child’s father.

“She called me one day after she left the accommodation and she was crying. She told me the baby died after she started bleeding from her nose and mouth.”

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

The colleague contacted police on January 10. The mother will be deported after completing her jail term.

salamir@thenational.ae