Illegal abortions have landed two women doctors in jail, a senior police officer told Gulf News yesterday. It was learned that one of the two doctors did not hold recognised credentials.

Under UAE federal law, abortion is considered illegal unless it is recommended by the doctor for the patient's survival.

Brigadier Sharafuddin Mohammed Hussain, Assistant Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, revealed: "The two doctors practiced in two different clinics but both worked in cooperation. Their clinics were just a cover-up for their illegal activities."

On a tip-off, the police laid a trap to catch them.

"We sent a pregnant woman to approach the doctors for an abortion. At the appointed time given to her, she went to the clinic where the doctors had already started their preparation to conduct the abortion. This was enough for our CID agents to enter the place and arrest the doctors right at the crime scene," said Brig. Sharafuddin.

He added: "Upon interrogation, the two doctors confessed. We have also found remains of a previous abortion case in the trash bin of the clinic."

Dr Ibrahim Ali Al Qhadi, Director of Private Medical Practice Department at the Ministry of Health in Dubai, said: "Abortion is illegal in the UAE. Any doctor who performs abortion, or prescribe medicines to assist it, will be prosecuted."

Dr Al Qhadi pointed out that the only circumstance under which abortion is allowed is if pregnancy would pose a danger to the life of the mother.

"It is mandatory to have approval from three doctors. It has to be done under specific conditions, by a gynaecologist and an abortion specialist. The abortion must be done at one of the government hospitals after getting written permission from the husband or the guardian," said Dr Al Qhadi.

Dr Al Qhadi said the Ministry of Health monitors the activities of all private clinics.

According to Dr Al Qhadi, the penalty for abortion varies from a fine, a jail sentence, or closing down the clinic. The police are still investigating the case.