Mother loses foetus, is convicted

Dubai: A woman who lost her unborn baby in a Dubai road crash has been convicted of manslaughter and ordered to pay ‘blood money’, in the first such ruling in the United Arab Emirates, local newspapers reported on Monday.

The court found the 27-year-old Lebanese woman had failed to exercise due diligence when driving and caused her car to collide with another vehicle in October when she was nine months pregnant, the Arabic-language Al-Emarat Al-Youm said.

The English-language daily The National reported that the woman’s car was struck from behind after she braked on a highway in Dubai, which like the rest of the UAE is notorious for fatal road accidents.

The Dubai traffic court ordered the mother to pay 20,000 dirhams ($5, 450) in diyyah — blood money — to the unborn baby’s next of kin and fined her another $540 for “unintentional homicide”, Al-Emarat Al-Youm said.

The judge based the verdict on sharia (Islamic law), it added.

“This may be the first case of its kind and may appear unusual to some, but the case highlights the fact that an unborn foetus also has rights as any human being,” chief traffic prosecutor Salah Bu Farousha was quoted as saying in The National.

Highways in the United Arab Emirates have a top speed limit of 120 kmph but motorists often drive much faster.

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