x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Torture mum sentenced to 13 years in prison

Doctors were appalled at how malnourished the child was and alerted police after a postmortem found the fractures had been sustained over years.

ABU DHABI // A mother who tortured her four-year-old daughter to death has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The child, Maryam, died of a brain haemorrhage brought about by beatings that caused skull fractures.

Doctors, who were already appalled at how malnourished the child was, alerted police after a postmortem found the fractures had been sustained over years.

Her mother, S Q, and father, A S, were arrested and charged with beating the child to death.

At their trial the Criminal Court heard how the mother would starve, imprison and beat her daughter and throw her in the rubbish bin as punishment for what she deemed “mischievous” behaviour.

But the mother did not expose her son to the same abuse. The court heard family friends and neighbours were aware only of the boy’s existence.

On the day of Maryam’s death her mother had left the two children at home with nothing to eat.

When she returned at noon she fed only the son, leaving her daughter to starve as punishment for misbehaving.

About 9pm, she relented and tried to feed her daughter but Maryam was unable to digest the food and started vomiting repeatedly.

She was taken to hospital but died soon after and the extent of her injuries was discovered.

The mother claimed Maryam’s injuries were caused by a fall, but doctors rejected this saying that could not explain so many fractures.

She was found guilty of beating Maryam to death and received the maximum possible punishment of 10 years.

She received another three years for failing to treat her daughter’s injuries.

Maryam’s father was cleared of beating his daughter to death, but found guilty of negligence and sentenced to three years in prison, which is also the maximum possible punishment.

Asked how he could not have noticed that Maryam’s body was extremely thin and malnourished, he replied that he assumed she was just a skinny child.

He said he did not interfere in her upbringing because it was the mother’s job.

hdajani@thenational.ae