Dubai: In an unprecedented ruling, a court on Sunday convicted a mother of accidentally killing her foetus in a traffic accident, prompting a prosecutor to stress that the law preserves the right of foetuses to live.

The Dubai Traffic Court of First Instance fined the 27-year-old Lebanese woman Dh2,000 and ordered her to pay Dh20,000 in blood money for accidentally killing her nine-month-old foetus. The blood money is to be paid to the foetus's successors. A person has to pay 10 per cent of blood money for accidentally killing a foetus, according to Sharia. In the UAE, blood money amounts to Dh200,000.

Salah Bu Farousha, Head of the Traffic Public Prosecution, advised women in the third trimester of pregnancy to avoid driving except in cases of urgent need.

"We are trying to protect the foetuses' rights to live... that right is protected by law. Pregnant women who are about to deliver should protect theirs and their foetuses' lives and avoid driving as much as possible except in emergencies. The Federal Penal Code punishes any suspect who accidentally causes the death of an individual," Bu Farousha told Gulf News. He said he considered the foetus to be a life. Hence, the woman was prosecuted.

The fine was suspended for three years, during which the accused must not repeat the crime.

The woman said she was not at fault. Records said the nine-month-old female foetus died after the umbilical cord was cut.

Bu Farousha said they charged the woman with reckless driving and failing to keep a safe distance with the car ahead of her.

"We have laws which protect foetuses and yesterday's verdict should be a deterrent," he said.

"We ruled out any criminal intentions and concentrated on the mother's accidental error, recklessness and failure to keep a safe distance. We prosecuted the woman to protect the foetus's rights and because accidental killing is punishable by law."

What do you think of this decision? Have you heard of a similar case anywhere else?

Your comments

It is sad. Instead of giving the mother psychological assistance, they blame her for killing her own child, this is sad
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 04, 2009, 17:54

I absolutely agree with UAE's court decision...She shouldn't drive the car, because of reckless driving she killed an unborn baby.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 17:30

I am totally against this rule. The mother is already going through pain on her biggest ever lost, charging her or blaming her for the loss of foetus's life is adding to her pain.She had been taking care of her baby for 9 months in her womb then why would she kill her after going through the entire pain of pregnancy. She should not be punished.
Nasira Noor
Posted: May 04, 2009, 17:28

I'm sorry but I don't think it's fair to convict the mother in this way! It was after all an accident which was not done on purpose. It was not a forcible abortion which is against the law and ethics. I, being a woman, can understand the trauma the mother must be going through. However, driving or doing any other physical activities by pregnant women after their 7th month can be prohibited by law.
Agniyah Shaikh
Posted: May 04, 2009, 16:56

In my own opinion...well, charging the mother for "accidentally killing her fetus" doesn't make any sense. If the mother has the intention of killing her unborn baby then why she has to wait for nine months to do that? They should understand that the mother is already suffering for the loss of her unborn child and charging her will only add to her burden.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 15:50

Is this same penalty applied to children who are killed in other accidents? What about the children who ride around in cars with no child's car seat or proper restraint and are killed as a result? Do those parents pay blood money as well? Of all the things to fine a person for, this decision completely alludes me.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 04, 2009, 15:31

I am currently 7 months pregnant and shocked by this artcile. It was an accident and unintentional. Having a charge against you while dealing with losing your baby after carrying it for 9 months is unimaginable. I think the sentence is too harsh and unnacceptable!
Posted: May 04, 2009, 14:47

I think if it is accidental case then panalty is unsuitable. As this could occur any where regardless of specific activity.Mum should avoid driving for keeping in veiw safety factor. The main question is how the penalty will compensate the feotus fatality. I think the pain she suffered will work as a lesson for the rest of the life of mum.
Zia Al Mulk
Posted: May 04, 2009, 14:41

An accidental death of a loved one specially a feotus that a mother has been nurturing for nine months is a huge mental trauma. This was the time that she would have been holding and feeding the baby. Showering the baby with all motherly love but due to a tragic mishap she lost a part of her being.It was unintentional and she shouldn't be punished for that. If she's been held accountable then what about the baby's father? Isn't he as responsible and likewise accountable for the safety of both mother and feotus. I think we should all pray that the lady recovers from the shock of losing her baby.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 14:11

I think the woman should not have been convicted of killing her own unborn baby. It was an accident and the mother suffered the most. Penalizing her further somehow doesn't seem fair. As a woman, I can imagine the trauma she must be undergoing now after losing her fully grown foetus. Suppose the accident would have happened while she was travelling by a taxi or if someone else was driving her? Though it was her fault to have driven during her last term of pregnancy, ultimately it was her loss. Authorities could enforce fines on women driving during pregnancy to avoid further such incidents. Accidental killing is a crime, but in this case it was unintentional and the woman herself is the sufferer and should be forgiven.
Naina Nair
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:56

I Think charges should be applied to the car owner for allowing her to drive the car in pregnancy period, If the car is on her own name then she should be liable for the penalty. No Airline allow passenger to travel if pregnancy is more than 7months, In this case foetus is 9months. She should not be punished for foetus killing. it has to be taken a voilation of travelling rules
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:55

My sympathies to the mother who lost her baby. Although life is precious and no one has the right to destroy it, how can one think that a mother can kill her baby-to-be-born intentionally after bearing the child for 9 months? Has this thought ever struck the minds of people? Moreover, the successor of the foetus are both the parents. Loss of a baby is the biggest sorrow for a woman and we shouldn't add to her miseries. So I think the decision should be change.
Sandeep Nagarkar
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:54

If a woman has taken care of the foetus for nine months in her womb, how can she be held responsible for accidentally killing it? Just hold her for recklessly driving and not for killing the foetus. I don't understand to whom she has to pay the 20,000 blood money.
Kiran Karkera
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:45

Firstly, I was unaware of this case and I really scared because last year I was pregnant and was still driving till the seventh month! Well, I understand that it is very dangerous but I do not think that any woman will kill her baby "accidentally". Accidents happen anywhere: means that the foetus can die in whichever circumstances. I do not think it is fair to convict the mother. However, precautions are to be taken. Moreover, we are working women and we need to drive "ourselves" to go to work. We need to be independent and it would be very hard for us to stand in the heat on the road waiting for a taxi. You cannot expect your company to pay for the taxi fare or afford to take vacation prior to the delivery as well as after the delivery. i feel that this decision needs to be reconsidered. Anyway, during emergencies I do not think that she will be able to drive herself.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:44

I don't agree with the ruling at all. Obvioulsy no mother would ever intend to kill her own unborn baby. The mother is definitely devasted by the loss of her baby, and by convicting her it would have made her life even more miserable. I do not agree with this ruling and conviction. Let her mourn her baby in peace.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:36

Unfair decision and wrong wording to say mother killed the foetus. Doesn't anyone understand a mother's grief of losing the baby? Maternity leave is only 45 days and mums-to-be needs to work until the day they deliver to make most of the maternity leave. No companies will arrange transportion for pregnant women who are in their trimesters? So whom to blame?
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:31

I do not agree that she needs to pay blood money to the "successor" of the foetus.
Andy Kris
Posted: May 04, 2009, 13:00

How can they charge a mother for killing her own baby? I truly agree that she shouldn't be driving the car in her last month of pregnancy, but its an accident and why would she kill her own child, if she wanted she would have not carried the child for 9 months. I feel sorry and sad for the mother.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:37

The woman has to pay the price for her baby is not right I feel. To whom she has to pay? If this was the mistake of the other party in accident it could make sense but in this case the mother should be treated with sympathy.
Danish Jafri
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:34

i agree totally the court order. When she knows that she is about to deliver how come she harm the child by driving recklessly. It should be a lesson for the other expecting mothers also. The authorities should strictly implement a rule that there is a limitation of the age, and a health condition to drive, to avoid the accidents.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:32

An accident is accident, its not an intentional thing!
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:29

she is her mom ,she is very sad now so what is the charge? I am strictly against it.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:22

Well, i think this was a very complicated but wise decision made by the authorities. It was complicated but it was just. a mother may feel it was unjustified because it is her child or because it was an accident.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:19

How can a foetus have a successor who will receive the blood money? Not only that the poor woman has undergone so much stress after losing her baby, this decision is not making it easier.
M. M.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 12:19

I think court order is in right direction, with full pregnancy, she shouldn't have driven the car, and as per the tariff report she was recklessly driving. There should be strict administration of traffic rules to check the physical condition of the driver. Once an old lady hit my car from behind in very slow driving at night. She is not able to see the road properly. Traffic authorities should not allow these people driving causing accidents in the roads.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:49

Although I feel so sorry for the mother-to-be on the loss of her child and the emotional trauma she is going through, the guilt she will feel for the rest of her life and the social ostracism, I agree with the decision of the authorities. Life of an unborn child is precious to the Creator and no one has the right to take his/her life away, either accidently or unintentional. I pray and hope no one ever has to go through this situation again!
Sujah Samson-Paul
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:48

I am an 18 year old student and I read this article which ensures even the life of a small being... its good.. but when you charge such heavy amount of fine to people we have to see that they are capable of paying it. As a mother even that lady will have pain in her. she will be mentally and physically affected. we will have to consider even her situation. its good to have such laws but make sure that its on the right person.
Umm Habiba
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:27

It says 'The blood money is to be paid to the foetus's successors', who will they pay it to? Successor of foetus?
Yogesh Bagmar
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:26

How can one be charged if she kills the foetus accidentally? Why would a would-be-mother kill her own child accidentally? If it is intentionally done then yes she should be penalised.
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:02

Could you please elaborate as to how the feotus was killed and what is the exact cause of death? Did the mother meet an accident or something? No mom, especially during her pregnancy, would want to put her unborn baby to harm. I think it's not fair for the mom to be convicted. She's traumatised I guess of her loss and now being convicted of killing her own baby... That's too much...
Posted: May 04, 2009, 11:02