Dubai hotel employee jailed after one-night stand with guest

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

A 25-year-old Dubai hotel employee was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered deported after having sex with a guest, becoming pregnant and aborting the pregnancy, the United Arab Emirates-based National reported last week.

The woman – a native of South Africa identified only as “MB” – was arrested after she checked into a Sharjah hospital hemorrhaging on Sept. 7, 2010, and doctors reported her condition to police.

She was charged with committing zina – the Sharia law offence of sex outside marriage – in addition to aborting a four-month-old fetus.

“MB” could have faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and 100 lashes, although a prior National article says that the UAE hasn’t allowed the lashing of non-Muslims since 2006. Islamic law, or sharia – which means “path” in Arabic – is a code of conduct governing all aspects of Muslim life. 

According to the paper, the woman told the Sharjah Criminal Court of First Instance that she’d met an American guest at the unidentified Dubai hotel where she worked and he invited her out one night. They had sex and never saw each other again.

After she discovered she was pregnant, a friend had given her six pills to terminate the pregnancy, the National says. 

During the trial in November, the woman’s lawyer had argued that she should be let go due to a lack of required witnesses and evidence.

The pills that she took, he argued, had not been identified forensically as abortion pills, so the abortion charge was unfounded, the National says. He also urged the court to be lenient with his client since she was a non-Muslim woman with little prior knowledge of sharia law.

The National’s most recent article about the court’s ruling says that the woman had served 113 days of her 132-day sentence.


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