Woman aborted her own foetus, court told

A couple were sentenced to six months in jail for sex outside of marriage, with the woman receiving additional punishment for inducing an abortion.

ABU DHABI // A married woman had sexual intercourse with a work colleague and aborted their unborn baby, a court heard yesterday. AB, 33, who works for a cleaning company at Adnoc, had consensual sex with another cleaner, SK, Abu Dhabi Ciminal Court was told. Both are from India, and worked at the company's facility in Al Samha, Abu Dhabi.

They were sentenced to six months in jail followed by deportation, and the woman was also fined Dh1,000 for inducing an abortion. According to forensic tests, she intentionally induced the abortion on July 14, when she was less than four months pregnant. The foetus was found in the toilets at a medical clinic. The woman, who is a Muslim, pleaded not guilty to both charges. She told the court she did not know whether she had sex with the 34-year-old man, who is also married.

"SK offered me a juice and I drank it. After that, I lost consciousness," she told prosecutors and the court. She said she did not know what the juice contained. She said she went to a storeroom because she needed papers and cleaning equipment. But she told prosecutors she realised the man had sex with her when she woke up and found her trousers lying on the floor next to her. "We agreed not to tell anyone because we would be deported," she told prosecutors.

The man denied her claims, saying he asked her into a storeroom to have sex with him and she consented. "I had sex with her for 10 minutes and then I left the storage room," he told prosecutors. Four months later, the woman told prosecutors, she experienced pains in her abdomen and decided to go to a medical clinic. She said that while she was at the clinic she went to the bathroom and had a miscarriage.

She suffered internal bleeding and was moved to Al Rahba Hospital, according to court records. The man and the woman have been in prison since July 20 and the time they have served will be deducted from their prison term. They have 15 days in which to appeal. According to UAE law, it is a misdemeanour for a woman to abort her pregnancy. A doctor can perform abortions in two cases only: if pregnancy would endanger the mother's life, or if there is evidence the baby would be born with deformities that were not treatable.

In the latter case, the foetus must be aborted before it is 121 days old, and the abortion must be approved by a special medical panel. A doctor found guilty of performing an unlawful abortion faces a minimum of five years in prison. Abortion-related charges can be punished by up to 15 years in prison, according to lawyers. @Email:hhassan@thenational.ae