Vol. 5 Num 734 Wed. June 21, 2006  
Front Page

UAE court commutes death by stoning of Bangladeshi

A United Arab Emirates (UAE) appeal court has commuted to imprisonment a sentence of death by stoning handed down by a lower court against a Bangladeshi convicted of adultery, reports said Tuesday.

The court ordered Shaheen Abdel Rahman jailed for a year and then deported to his home country, the Khaleej Times newspaper said.

An Islamic court in the emirate of Fujairah, one of seven that make up the federation, earlier this month handed down the death penalty against Abdel Rahman and a one-year jail sentence and 100 lashes against his unnamed co-defendant who was working as a live-in maid.

Her sentence was upheld by the appeal court on Monday.

The couple were caught naked in bed in April when the woman's employer called the police after suspecting that she had sneaked her lover into her bedroom.

The woman was spared the death by stoning sentence because she was single while the man admitted to being married but said that he could not bring his wife over to the Emirates.

Like the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the court system in the UAE applies sharia, or Islamic law based on the Koran, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed and the interpretations of scholars that came after him.

All sharia courts in the UAE hand down severe punishment that usually include the lash, a jail term and deportation for men and women who have affairs outside wedlock.

But they usually refrain from more severe sentences like beheading that are common in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The Emirates has never carried out an execution by stoning, an Emirati official told the Khaleej Times.