x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Woman accused of abortion ‘was not pregnant’, Abu Dhabi court hears

The woman told Abu Dhabi Criminal Court she had never been pregnant and the bleeding she was hospitalised with was caused by anemia.

ABU DHABI // A woman accused of having an abortion after becoming pregnant outside of wedlock denied the charges on Sunday.

The Criminal Court heard that N S, an Emirati, was admitted to a hospital in Sharjah suffering from bleeding. According to a hospital report, she had “blood poisoning due to an incomplete abortion and the remains of the foetus in her uterus”.

However, she denied she had ever been pregnant.

“I was cleared by the hospital of being pregnant,” she said.

“I told them I didn’t know I was pregnant so they released me from hospital.”

“Then how do you explain the bleeding?” said Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer.

“I don’t know about this, it’s normal because I have anaemia,” she said.

The court referred N S to a medical expert to examine her claims.

It also agreed to appoint a defence lawyer to represent her as she did not have the Dh10,000 it would cost to pay for one herself.

As per a recent verdict issued by the Court of Cassation, pregnancy is proof of sex out of wedlock even if the defendant denies it and no other proof is found.

Muslim defendants, even pregnant ones, found guilty of having sex outside of marriage were usually sentenced according to the civil penal code, which set out a prison sentence and deportation for non-nationals, if they denied their charges.

But after the Court of Cassation, the highest trial stage, issued its verdict that pregnancy was evidence enough to convict, Sharia penalties now apply to Muslims.

hdajani@thenational.ae