ABU DHABI // Families should not settle for the Dh200,000 blood money for the loss of a loved one and should apply for further compensation through the civil court, lawyers say.
The amount, about equal to the price of 100 camels, does not go far enough to compensate relatives of people who have been killed accidentally, especially if the deceased was the sole breadwinner, said Huda Al Falamarzy, of Mohammed Al Hashimi Advocates and Legal Consultants.
“What is Dh200,000 for children who have lost their only provider and carer?” Ms Al Falamarzy asked. “What if it were four young children whose father was accidentally killed? Is Dh200,000 enough to put them through college and support them until adulthood?”
Families should file for additional compensation to cover financial and emotional losses.
Diyya is a debt owed to the victim’s family that must be paid by whoever caused the death.
“The purpose behind blood money is to alleviate the pain of the victim’s family and to support them,” said the Abu Dhabi judiciary.
But being ordered to make the payment does not mean those found guilty of causing the death will not receive a jail term. The perpetrator can still serve a maximum of three years in prison and be ordered to pay a fine, depending on the crime.
Officials stressed that blood money was not paid to the court but to the heirs of the victim.
If the guilty party can prove to the judge that they do not have the means to pay immediately, they can be released if in custody and allowed as much time as needed to raise the amount.
Their passport is held to ensure they don’t flee the country.
“The court understands if the cause of death was unintentional,” said judges, although the authorities can detain people if the debt is not repaid.
There are no inmates serving time in Abu Dhabi’s prisons because of unpaid blood money.
Ms Al Falamarzy said there were cases where people had deliberately put themselves in harm’s way in the hope their family would receive diyya payments.
“I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. An Indian guy who purposely threw himself in front of a moving car so he would die and his family would get the blood money.”
Judges said that the amount to be paid in blood money was determined by the cost of 100 camels and was written in Sharia. It would be increased only if that figure changed.