On Monday a judge in Dubai's Sharia court ordered a 27-year-old woman from Lebanon to pay diyya, or blood money, for the death of her unborn child. She was nine months pregnant and driving when she got into an accident last fall, one that apparently severed the umbilical cord of the fetus. The judge ruled that the woman did not take proper care of her unborn child. In addition to the diyya, which was Dh20,000, or more than $6,000 Cdn, she was fined Dh1,000, or almost $320. The diyya is to be deposited with the court until the relatives of the baby - I am assuming the father's side - file a civil case with Sharia court to claim it.
A legal consultant in the UAE said there was a law establishing legal diyyah in the accidental death of a fetus, requiring it to be 10% of the regular amount of Dh200,000; it has just not been tested before.
A traffic prosecutor went on to caution that heavily pregnant women should avoid driving to protect their unborn babies.
Last month the UAE's 16 Supreme Court judges recommended diyyah be equal for men and women. Although it was equal in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras al Khaimah, the rest of the country required payments for men that were twice that for women.