Wife beaten to death 'after refusing to feed baby'

A woman died after her husband beat her, apparently for refusing to feed their baby, a court hears.

DUBAI // A woman died after her husband beat her, apparently for refusing to feed their baby, a court heard yesterday. Anisa Fatima died from head injuries in Ajman's Khalifa Hospital a few days after her husband, MG, 26, allegedly beat her with his bare hands and a plastic hosepipe. The Pakistani tailor is charged with assault leading to death and faces up to 10 years in jail, if convicted. He appeared before judges at Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance yesterday and pleaded not guilty. The court heard that after attacking his wife on April 13, MG claimed she was "possessed" and called in the imam from a local mosque to recite verses from the Quran over her as she lay injured. The Sudanese imam told prosecutors he had received MG's call at 6.20am and reluctantly agreed to go to the couple's home in Rashidiya. There he found Anisa covered in a blanket that concealed her whole body. She was not moving.

After reciting verses for 15 minutes, the imam became suspicious and asked MG what had happened. He told him he had "slapped" her after she refused to feed his child, a claim backed up by the defendant's brother, Mohammed Ghulam. According to his brother's statement, when MG had asked his wife to feed the child she refused and went outside on to the terrace. The defendant told his brother he had slapped her and tried to drag her into the house. He then allegedly beat her with a hose until she fell and hit her head on the floor, and then carried her indoors and placed her on the bed before telephoning the imam. The next day Anisa was admitted to hospital. The duty doctor who examined her told prosecutors he found bruises on her body that indicated abuse and decided to call the police.

When MG was first taken into custody for questioning, he claimed his wife had hit her head after falling down the stairs. A few days after being admitted, Anisa underwent surgery for head injuries, but later died. At this point the charge against MG was elevated from assault leading to injury to assault leading to death. Presiding Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy adjourned the trial to February 17 and remanded MG in custody. amustafa@thenational.ae