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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

As debts pile up, expat mother and child face more jail time in Qatar

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Mother child
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With reporting from Riham Sheble

In December of 2012, Mary (not her real name) was working in the human resources department of a major company in Qatar, heavily pregnant and unmarried.

The Filipina expat knew that giving birth without a husband would get her in trouble here, but she was out of options.

The baby’s Turkish father had left the country for good. She could not follow suit because she had started falling behind on her high-interest loan payments to a man who lent her QR50,000.

She had hoped to use the money to start a home business, and gave him her passport to secure the loan. He filed a case against her with the police nonetheless.

Within weeks, Mary gave birth to a healthy baby boy at a private hospital in Doha. But staff there called the police when she was unable to present a marriage certificate.

Mary and her child spent 10 months in jail, and she was then moved to a government-run detention center, which would presumably process her paperwork to be sent home.

This is where her story gets complicated.

When expats are convicted of crimes in Qatar, they are typically ordered to serve their sentences and then be deported immediately.

But people like Mary, who get in over their heads in debt, and others with unfinished business, can get stuck in a legal limbo for months, if not years.

Detention center

Mary first contacted Doha News in 2012, sparking a story about the fate of unmarried pregnant women in Qatar. Through friends, we came to know she had served her sentence for giving birth out of wedlock, but that her legal troubles would soon land her in jail again.

Once Mary was released from prison, she was sent to a deportation center, where many expats are housed before being sent home.

Following a visit to Qatar last year, François Crépeau, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, strongly criticized these centers, specifically the presence of children at these facilities.

He said:

“Children should never find themselves in detention: migrant women with children should always be hosted in shelters.”

While there, Mary tried to alert authorities that she still had a debt case pending, mindful of the fact that time spent in a detention center did not count as jail time.

But it wasn’t until staff from the Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking (QFCHT) came to visit the deportation center, and transferred all babies and their mothers there to their own facility in Abu Hamour, that her legal problems came to light.

That’s when Mary and her now 15-month-old son were taken back into police custody. She is now staying at a jail in Najma, awaiting her next court case to move forward.

Legal context

Like many other Gulf states, Qatar’s judicial system comes down hard on those who dodge their debts, imposing stiff penalties for fraud and for failing to repay loans.

The punishment for just one bounced check ranges from a jail term of three months to three years, and/or a fine of around QR3,000.

CheckIf you have multiple bounced checks, you can receive multiple jail sentences, which do not usually run concurrently. Separately, the creditor may also pursue civil action to recoup the money.

One bounced check will not usually land you in jail – a company will generally present a check at the bank several times before seeking redress from police – but cases involving check fraud take up a great deal of court time in Qatar.

The most common debt cases that appear before the courts are bad checks, which can be treated as a criminal or civil matter (or both), Shaker Abdal-Samee, who works in the law office of Hind Al-Saffar, told Doha News.

The criminal case involves the act itself, such as writing a check that bounces or is dishonored. In cases of business-to-business financial dealings, it can also include a company failing to complete a job after drawing an advance, he said.

If the indebted individual cannot come up with the money, a court can order their property liquidated to raise funds. If that’s not an option, a judge can sentence the individual to prison time.

More debts

In addition to the loan payments that Mary has defaulted on while pregnant, other debts piled up while she served her sentence for giving birth out of wedlock.

They included bounced rental checks, and a large loan from her bank, whose payments she had defaulted on while she was in prison. Unaware that she was in custody, both the bank and landlord reported her to the police.

Though they canceled any further debts once they became aware of her situation, the police reports they’d initially made remained.

Speaking to Doha News, Mary said she’s not sure how many separate check cases she has to answer for, but she estimates that there are at least six to 12 checks that have bounced.

She added that she knew it was foolish to take on so much debt. “I wouldn’t do it now, but I just wanted to start the business so much,” she said.

Mary said she has no funds for a lawyer, and so a friend is helping her gain access to her legal file so she can understand her situation and defend herself in court. Without this information, she does not know how much further time in jail she may be facing.

She also does not know when she will actually stand trial. Delays are common in Qatar’s court system, which is struggling to keep up with the number of cases referred to it every day.

Delays

For now, Mary is waiting. Her last few scheduled court dates have been canceled.

When she finally does get a chance to appear in court, Mary said she hopes that the judge will agree to a temporary release so that her son can live outside of jail for the first time in his life.

Doha court

She’s been advised that she will need to make a small down payment on her loans to prove that she intends to repay the debts. But because she has no savings, she can’t do this yet.

That’s why the expat said she also hopes to persuade the judge to allow her to work upon her release, so that she can pay the money back.

Mary said she knows, however, that the most likely future for her is more time jail and then, deportation back to the Philippines.

But despite all that’s happened, she said that she doesn’t want to return to her home country:

“I just want the best for my son. And I can work here for good money, and look after him. In the Philippines, it’s too hard.”

Rare case

Situations like Mary’s, in which unwed mothers accumulate debts while in prison for having sex outside of marriage, are relatively rare in Qatar, according to lawyer Abdal-Samee.

Most tenants who find themselves incarcerated don’t end up owing back rent to their landlords, because property owners will typically ask the courts to declare the premises vacant, which effectively annuls the rental contract, the lawyer added.

Still, the onus is on individuals to manage their financial affairs and assume responsibility for their loans, he said.

“If one racks up debts while in jail, they’ll likely face legal repercussions once they’ve completed their initial sentence. (Bad debts) are a huge issue in Qatar … It’s taken very seriously because it’s harmful to the economy. People have to pay off their debts. The punishment has to be severe to deter people.”

He told us that the law is applied equally to Qataris and foreigners, and that expats are typically allowed to remain in Qatar to find work after serving a debt-related sentence.

Cases of deportation typically involve repeat offenders, he said, adding that most debt cases end in some form of reconciliation – which can happen at any point in the legal process – when the two parties agree to a full or partial repayment plan.

A regional issue

According to a 2012 annual report released by the Supreme Judicial Council, the total number of check-related complaints in Qatar has dropped significantly in recent years, from 23,422 cases in 2011 to 16,750 in 2012.

This reduction is thought to be due to new fines imposed by banks on account holders who present bad checks. Still, the figure for 2012 still works out to an astonishing 46 new cases daily, a significant load for Qatar’s already stretched court system.

Writing a check

Qatar is not the only country in the region grappling with a similar caseload. The UAE also imposes stiff penalties on debtors. Last year, it registered a record number of bounced check cases – almost 80,000, amounting to an overall bad debt of QR9.4 billion.

In an attempt to tackle the problem, police in Dubai have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the laws surrounding debts, and the penalties debtors face.

Speaking to The National last month, Director of Al Barsha Police Station Col. Abdullah Surour said that more young people appeared to getting into trouble over debt:

“Young people, both citizens and residents, are going to prison over issuing bad checks – there are a large number of young people in jail for this reason,” he said. “It is not only young men anymore but also women, which means this has become a social phenomena.”

Addressing these concerns, the UAE is currently mulling legislation that would stop the jailing of terminally ill patients, old people, pregnant women and minors under 18 years of age for defaulting on debts, Gulf News reports.

The newspapers says that the law would also stop the imprisonment of pregnant women until their baby is one year old.

So far, there is no suggestion that Qatar’s government is considering something similar to the UAE.

It’s likely that Mary will serve at least another year in prison – and given the number of cases against her, potentially significantly more.

According to Qatar’s Law No. 3 of 2009 on the Regulation of Penal and Correctional Institutions, Mary will be allowed to keep her son with her in jail until he turns two.

Thereafter, he can either be remanded to someone who has legal custody, presumably a family member, or placed in a foster home in Qatar, from where he will visit her at “closely spaced intervals,” the law states.

Prison conditions

Mary is currently in jail at the Capital Security Department, a large, modern complex with an attractive design, mirrored windows and palm trees. There is no barbed wire here, and visitors are able to enter without too much trouble.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Inside, men and women awaiting trial are detained in two separate facilities. The women’s section is staffed by friendly female guards, who usher visitors into a side room furnished with utilitarian chairs which sit in front of booths, separated by thick glass from a mirror image the other side of the barrier.

It’s here that Mary tells her story to Doha News, while bouncing her smiling son on her lap. We communicate through a metal grill while her toddler makes smeary hand prints over the glass, occasionally tapping it and waving.

Mary said that she felt she’d been well looked after during her time in jail. The staff were generally friendly, she said, and the government was currently revamping facilities at the Qatar Central Prison, where she’d served the first 10 months of her sentence, installing special mother and baby rooms.

When Mary was there, she’d slept in rooms with several other women and her baby son had shared her bed. She added, however, that the prison provided diapers and milk for babies, and a play area. In accordance with the law, she was able to exercise outside with him every day.

She also said that the healthcare in the prison had been good, and that she liked the doctor there. To pass the time, she made full use of the library on site, reading her way through its English-language novels.

Her one complaint, however, was that only family were allowed to visit at the main prison; with no relatives in Qatar, she had only her fellow prisoners to rely on for support.

She added that while facilities in Capital Security were more limited, she was glad to be able to see her friends again.

She also said that special toddler food was not available at the facility, but that friends had been allowed to bring these items to the detention center for her son to eat. Detainees are also able to buy additional food and personal care items inside Capital Security, if they have the funds to do so.

Mary also said that staff sometimes donated clothes and toys to the children in the facility. On the day of Doha News’ visit, for example, her son was sporting a Hugo Boss T-Shirt, courtesy of one of the center’s management.

As our meeting came to an end, she signaled to security staff, asking them to bring her son to the other side of the divide.

We went to the reception area, where we both looked out through the double doors at the parking lot and the road beyond.

“Dar,” he said, pointing to the cars parked outside. “Buuus” he said, delighted.

When asked if he could take a walk outside, the staff said it wasn’t allowed. Instead, he held his hand to the window, staring at the traffic passing by in the distance, eventually being persuaded to return to his mother inside.

Mary said she hopes she will be out of jail before her son comes to realize where he spent his early years. Whether her wish is granted still remains in the hands of Qatar’s courts.

Thoughts?

134 COMMENTS

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Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Jailed for having a child out if wedlock, how draconian and cruel.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

And discriminatory – I don’t see any father of the child in jail.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

hes not in the country, if he was he would be in jail as well after a DNA test

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Oh – well that is far more civilized.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

yes, yes it is. your aware of a law before you enter a country and you break it anyway you go to jail. i just feel bad for the baby

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

It is far from civilised locking up a mother and baby for pre marital intercourse.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Surely the the product of such a heinous relationship should be locked up too?

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

child committed no crime the parents did

Prashant Hiwale
Prashant Hiwale
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Get a life dude. The child has nothing to do with this. What if you made a mistake and your child had to pay for it? Feel good? Thought not!!

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Sorry. I was being sarcastic but obviously it was not obvious.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago

Mohammed – I feel sorry for the baby as well 🙁

I put a question up above which I am curious about your views on. A previous DN article (the one about “half Qataris”) mentioned that bastards (sorry, I hate that word, just using the word from the article/posts) who had a Qatari father are given full Qatari citizenship rights. That insinuates that a Qatari male who has sex outside of wedlock will not only have no jail time, but he will also be able to secure Qatari citizenship for that offspring. Is that correct? Are Qatari men able to break this law but others aren’t? I would love to hear your views.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Did you even read the story?! It’s mentioned in the beginning that he’d left the country?!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Yes I did read it but it doesn’t seem even-handed. Surely they should be checking every male before they let them out of the country!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

lol Are you for real?! People here complain to know end about needing an exist permit to leave, and now you’re saying every man who leaves must prove that he hadn’t left behind an pregnant girl friend/ one night stand or whatever?! This is hilarious!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Seems perfectly reasonable to me given the circumstances. If you’re going to have such a law in place then it should be administered evenly. If women are subject to it then so should be men or are you suggesting that men should be treated differently?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Again, read the story; if the father had been in the country when she gave birth, he’d been arrested. There was a similar case here on DN of another Filipino woman, a 40 years old, who got arrested along with the man she was seeing when it was found out she gave birth out of wedlock.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Well we can’t just let the birth be the determinant. This could be going on all the time so surely we should be checking all the time or the place could fall to pieces!

Prashant Hiwale
Prashant Hiwale
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

So what do you propose? Let them all off and penalise the woman because she believed (foolishly I might add) that he meant to do good by her? Then you need an attitude change my friend!! This is a regional problem.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
5 years ago

Speaking of what we need, you need to check the date; it’s been 9 months since I made my comment. Sorry, but I don’t have time to waste on actually replying to you.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Just for my understanding, I thought a previous DN article said that even bastards (sorry, I hate that word, but just using the word from the article) born to Qatari men were still considered as Qatari citizens, so based on that it seems like if the father were Qatari he would have no time in jail and he would be allowed to bestow the benefits of Qatari citizenship on that child. Is it only non-Qatari men who get punished for having children out of wedlock? I know women will get punished either way, but I’m more curious about the men at the moment.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

You’d have to ask someone with more knowledge on this topic, a lawyer perhaps, as I cannot say I know how the illegitimate children of Qatari men are treated.

With regard, to the jail time for the father; I don’t know for sure, but I think if the parents claim that they were married in secret (regardless of whether it’s true or not) then they can avoid punishment, as long as they formalize the marriage. In such case, even the woman shouldn’t have to serve any jail time. Thus, a Qatari man can easily dodge jail time; and of course, judges are probably more likely to pass a reduced sentence on a Qatari in such a case.

Again, a legal expert would be better able to answer these questions.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I guess I just hate to hear of ANYONE being in jail for having a baby regardless of the situation or their nationality, especially that poor little baby 🙁 But the rules are the rules here, and I must say if I were an unmarried single lady out here, I would keep that in mind and be EXTREMELY careful

MN
MN
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

It’s really a shame that rules like that still exist in the 21st century. Why don’t they hang her while they’re at it. That’s what Europeans used to do 5 CENTURIES AGO.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

Very good point, it is not Arabs or Europeans that at fault it is religion. For this poor woman it is Islam that inflicts a cruel punishment, in Ireland it was Catholicism. It proves the rule that religion poisons everything.

Boby
Boby
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Don’t forget that this woman and her baby treated well (as per the article) her situation is sucks because the legal system is don’t have adequate solution yet to handle these kind of cases quickly and effectively (and her dept is makes it even more difficult). This wouldn’t be that awful problem if legal procedures wouldn’t take soooo loooong..

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

For someone who should not have been arrested in the first place I find defence of her detention shocking. They took away her liberty, that is a crime in my book.

Boby
Boby
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

she shouldn’t be there in the first place,yes. But she is. I’m happy that she and her baby treated well. This is very important for both of them.

This is the law here,regardless what we think about it. Unfortunately.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

Treated well? Incarcerated for being born? Is that treated well? Your kidding yourself.

Boby
Boby
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Yeah sure you are right. I shouldn’t have mention it at all, irrelevant how she is being treated.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

No it is not irrelevant at all, but the pivotal point is that neither her or the child should be detained and praising the conditions does not, in my mind, keep focus on that fact. I’m glad they are not in a hot stinking dirty cell but they are incarcerated all the same.

Boby
Boby
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

To be clear: In my opinion every women should have the right to decide about her body,her life without being punished for that in ANY way.They shouldn’t be punished if they give birth out of wedlock and they shouldn’t if they don’t want to have a baby.

I also hate the fact that clinics must report to the police these cases. Infuriates me. Including the fact that she couldn’t go home to give birth to her baby.

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

here, here

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

Well we are signing the same song then. 🙂

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No ripcord. Religion does not poison

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

You think? Who would ever lock up a new born baby, for pre martial intercourse, if religion wasn’t involved? A poisonous by-product of bronze age human thinking.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Abuse of women, mass murder in Iraq and Syria, Buddhists attacking and killing Muslims in Sri Lanka and Burma. Mass Abuse of kids by Catholic priests and imams, the crusades, stoning to death, cutting off of hands, inprisoning pregnant women and all that is just for starters. Religion positions everything.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Here, here!

Bassel
Bassel
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I am sorry children abuse was committed only by priests, no imams were involved

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

I absolutely don’t agree… Try reading the British or world wide newspapers at the moment and then see if you agree with your own comment…

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

I don’t think many “Europeans” supported that practice in Ireland.

disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

I don’t think the Irish people as a whole supported the practice either, it was just well covered up – so many people didn’t know about it – unfortunately the people that did – were the ones involved. The practice is well known and law in Qatar. Same practice, slight difference.

Boby
Boby
6 years ago

So many things were covered up or “we didn’t now about it” or “we didn’t think that it was a widespread problem”

I simply don’t like it when ppl from the west speak from imaginary moral high grounds. That’s it.

disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
disqus_ZM5UFScbWq
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

I don’t think anyone here is speaking from imaginary moral high ground. Every country in the world has it’s own injustices and many of them take time and campaigning to get recognition and therefore ultimately be dealt with. There is no Utopia in this world. This particular story is, in any realm, an injustice to the child and his mother. It is borne out of an archaic legal system defined by religious beliefs (and not necessarily the beliefs of the victim). Yes, it is the law of the country here and in my opinion, one that should be changed. No moral high ground. That’s it. 🙂

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Boby

Yes I agree the Catholic Church is a disgrace. But in regards to your linked article it mentions 1942 to 1970. Some 44 years ago. Also 2 wrongs don’t make a right and deflecting to another abhorrent issue does not address the current one. Jailing of children and powerless females is just not on in this day and age

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Well said. Couldn’t agree with you more.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Couldn’t agree more. Who could possibly support such an injustice

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

I would show no sympathy to a person who has committed crime. But my sympathy goes for the baby who is innocent because of the mistake of 2 wrong persons. U come to Qatar to work and follow the rules n regulations. If u do wrong u face the legal action.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago

I presume by this comment that you would be able to stand pure and guiltless in front of a judge, having never broken the law in your life? You’ve never broken the speed limit, for example? A person’s life should not be ruined by a single error in judgement, especially when that error caused no harm to any other human being!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

certainly doesn’t sound like you’re in any danger of showing sympathy

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

Thank You Captain Obvious

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

Empathy, maybe?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

Unfortunately empathy is a characteristic only understood and displayed by people with kind and loving hearts. I have so much respect for people who have the ability to be empathetic, and for all others, I just wish that one day they will have the kindness and love in their hearts to be that way eventually, but I will not hold my breath.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I presume if your daughter had relations outside of marriage your would support stoning her to death? Of maybe you would commit the (dis) honour killing yourself.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It depends on the upbringing and how well I teach her the Islamic values. Alhamdollilah I have confidence and trust in Allah swt and Islamic teachings. Ihadina sirat al mustaqim 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I pray for your poor children if you have any, you advocate child abuse of your own flesh and blood.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I will do the same what quran and sun nah does 🙂

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Can I ask, why you would do something that is written in a book, words of someone you have never seen or met, over your own child or family? There is nothing and I mean nothing that comes first other than my little girl. I find it incredible that people put words in a book over the child that they, and the person they are supposed to be in love with, have created…

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

You are getting into topics you shouldnt!You have no clue whats mentioned in holy Quran,better to restrain yourself from something you dont know!

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  reddevil

I’ll do as I please thanks.

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

Yes you may,public forum isnt the platform

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  reddevil

Platform for what?? For asking a question?? For stating something that I believe in. Get off your high horse will you and remember that this public forum is for people with different faiths, opinions, skin colour. If you don’t like it, don’t come on here.

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

You are questioning religious beliefs of people without having any idea about it.You can give your opinions,stick to the topic.why drag religion into this?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  reddevil

Because this whole article is based on Islamic principles. The law of qatar is based on Islamic principles. This woman is imprisoned with her littl baby simply for having sexual relations outside of wedlock. Not a problem in my book, but is against the Quran and against Qatari Law. How much more about religion do you want this to be?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  reddevil

Oh and if you read the thread thoroughly, you will see that it wasn’t me that brought religion into it. I see you haven’t commented on anyone else’s opinions have you??? You just don’t like it because I am questioning and disagreeing with your beliefs which you obviously think are the be all and end all. Get over it.

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

I dont want you to agree with my beliefs nor i think my religion is all and end all.I have been raised well enough to respect others belief,dont like it when someone who has no idea about our religion starts questioning it based on an particular case!!Quran is against having child out of wedlock,to put the lady through all this is based on law of the land.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Man you got to get out more and get off the strawberry shisha it is absolutely causing you some reality issues.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

your would? Man you brought up stoning someone to death, kind of dark bro

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Certainly not. Only the insane or the religiously blind would support such a thing.

Ano
Ano
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

btw, where does it say that you have to stone someone to death ?? I am sure they are going to tell Hadees… OOOKKKAAAYYY… Do you want an hadees which says about Higgs bosson…??may be you search again and you get that … These guys twist religion by quoting the someone who lived after 250+ years after prophet…

Facts below:

1. In about 650 CE, the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (d. 656CE) began noticing slight differences in pronunciation of the Quran as Islam expanded beyond the Arabian peninsula into Persia, the Levant, and North Africa. In order to preserve the sanctity of the text, he ordered a committee headed by Zayd to use Abu Bakr’s copy and prepare a standard copy of the Quran.Thus, within 20 years of Muhammad’s death, the Quran was committed to written form.

2. There was slight pronunciation changes done even for quran with in 20 years of prophets death…when there is a promise from Allah that he will preserve it for ever …plain and simple… no muslim will disagree…

3. Still does your common sense tells you that everything you see on the hadees is authentic and pure as diamond even after 250 years??

3.Do you think that such a society will not twist story narrations such as “I heard prophet saying like this….and I heard my father telling that his father heard prophet saying like this….etc..” for a whopping 250 years….??oh.. c’mon

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Ano

I don’t really want to get into a theological debate but what you say are not facts. We know very little about the early Muslims and even prophet mohamed. (The first biography was written 200 years after his death and was a political work). Did you know from archeological evidence the early Muslims prayed to Jerusalem? ( the change to Mecca can much later)

Unfortunately the Arabs wrote little down unlike the Romans or the Persians so our knowledge of what was happening at that time is very limited. (And no you can’t use the Koran as evidence for itself)

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Maybe it’s time the laws changed? Maybe something a little more, hmmm I don’t know, 20th Century would be nice.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

Never underestimate the inhumanity of some self righteous Muslims, who will quote the Quran and ahadith to feel good about people accused of “moral” crimes being the worst punished in society

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

The lady has been through enough jail time and suffered already for her mistakes. Now she has to be given a chance to rebuild her life and to get back on her feet so she can pay back what she has to and get on with her life. Keeping her locked up like a criminal is just prolonging her agony. The higher authorities should look at this matter in a more humane manner

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago

Isn’t there any amnesty for expats like Mary? If not, it may be a good idea to consider, especially during Ramadan.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

The amnesty from jail time only seems to apply to citizens who commit heinous crimes.

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

Welcome to the year 1435 AH!!!!!!

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

I’m surprised you think it’s that far.. I was thinking more like 1163.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

I never understood the concept of dragging someone’s a s s to jail because of debt. it’s a Catch 22. how’d you find means to pay your debt while imprisoned. doesn’t make sense… The law might as well should have state that a rich relative will pick up the tab while you the debtor remain languishing in jail otherwise rot in jail …

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

In most countries debt is a civil rather than a criminal offence

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

That would probably be the 168 parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Qatar has neither signed nor ratified so article 11 (“No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.”) does not apply here…

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

In most “civilized” countries debt is a civil rather than a criminal offense.

Ahmed A
Ahmed A
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

given we arent civilized not much can be done here. do the civil thing and pay off her debt and she’ll be out of jail.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed A

Lots of expats routinely donate money for these sorts of things, along with providing blankets and clothing for the underpaid men brought in as laborers and then are mistreated by their employers and tickets home for maids who suffer abuse. If there is a charity drive for her, I would gladly contribute when I am in the country, just as I have for similar causes in the past.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

Or that is the risk of a lender doing business and why they charge fees an interest to offset such risks. That’s how the other 168 countries of the world handle it.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

yes. include also collateral

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Being pregnant is not a crime. Simple as.

It paints a bad picture of jailing mothers and new born babies. It puts them on par with South Sudan who planned to execute a woman because the state didn’t like her religion!

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Being pregnant is not a crime, getting pregnant out of wedlock is a crime. It paints a bad picture of people breaking the law of the land

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

So before we had marriage as an institution the whole human race was breaking the law? It is a stupid human law and is inherently sexist and oppresses woman disproportionality.

Anyone who defends it is a misogynist. Jailing a baby is beyond contempt. If countries like Qatar object to foreigners getting pregnant, then send them home, don’t jail them.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Read the law of qatar

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

change and progress go hand in hand – the UN human rights charter about a right to family life – it does not even mention marriage !

I agree, if that is outside your faith, then it is between you and your god

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

This is qatar..sharia law. Respect it.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

Shariah law is not fully implemented in Qatar and many aspects of it do not apply to non-Muslims in Qatar. My understanding is that she is not Muslim.

And if you want to follow Shariah law, then the loan itself should be invalidated and the lender arrested, because it is predatory with a high interest rate, which is contrary to riba (i.e. usury).

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Exactly.

Bassel
Bassel
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

It is not that it do not apply to non-Muslims, Islamic Sharia Law should not be applied on non Muslims in principle

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

The problem with some self styled “Sharia law” advocates is that they are very biased on how it should be applied.

A woman gets pregnant outside wedlock….flog her, jail her, she is immoral
A person steals a phone…cut his hand
An employer does not pay salaries on time………no answer, you cannot have Sharia everywhere

A loan with high interest is give…………what to do, this is business
Workers are falling sick working in 50C…….Sharia does not say you cannot work in the heat

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

This is phuket….this is spain..this is knightsbridge…this is Qatar but I break the law ever time I get in my land cruiser…sure respect

Bassel
Bassel
6 years ago

ok Where in sharia law that says she should be jailed??

Mojo
Mojo
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

UN charter is nothing but bullshi-t. It was written by a bunch of wacko feminists from Scandinavia, all for for promoting abortion on demand, sodomy and lust. Shuffle the charter were the sun never rise. This lady should have been deported, The only delusional is who ignore the fatal impact of single mothers and teen age pregnancy phenomena.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Mojo

Troll !

Mojo
Mojo
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

No, just telling the truth. Go and read about the UN lousy charter.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

The law is wrong.

If the law said Indians had to pay 50% tax and no other nationality would you just accept that?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Apart from it being against UN charters that Qatar is a signatory too, thereby the laws should compliment, how about the law be applied so rigorously to ohh perhaps some moron tailgating and flashy flashy putting persons life in danger. Not some poor child who is detained from birth. It’s barbaric simple. And anyone who thinks it is defensible is delusional.

Mojo
Mojo
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

UN charter is nothing but bullshi-t. It was written by a bunch of wacko feminists from Scandinavia, all for for promoting abortion on demand, sodomy and lust. Shuffle the charter were the sun never rise. This lady should have been deported, The only delusionals are who ignore the fatal impact of single mothers and teen age pregnancy phenomena

Mr. B
6 years ago
Reply to  Mojo

Both of those last points are empirically nonsense. There’s zero wrong with being a single mother except in a shame-based culture that values controlling what women do sexually. Teenage pregnancy is less than ideal in most economies, but it’s not fatal.

Bassel
Bassel
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Actually she is a victim of her own crime. First of all I have never heard that in Islam you should be jailed for that(As a Muslim I am against that) she should actually be helped instead of being jailed, can the people who are claiming that it is in Islam support support what they are saying with a proper reference please.
Before there were marriage contracts there were witnesses to witness that X is the husband of Y so that in the event of the disappearance or the death of the husband the witnesses are there to witness that she is the wife of X and that’s his son.

Anna Lee A. Dionisio
Anna Lee A. Dionisio
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

she could have been sent home/deported but she’s jailed because of her debts.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

or of the law – depending on how you view it.

Mr. B
6 years ago

That’s a bad law, however, law as it may be.

Mr Haydar
Mr Haydar
6 years ago

First, kudos to Doha News for posting this story. (Modern) legal system should be above the religious laws and before punishing any human, we should consider the remedies. What are they in this case? Who is the victim in this crime? The child and the people who borrowed the money to Maria. In the financial business there is a term of bad debt and that can be written off. What can be done to avoid innocent child to be punished along his mother? Is there any local or international charity organisation where we can create the fund and donate money for accrued penalties to be paid, basic necessities for the baby secured, flight fares to home country… Discussing did she sin, being silly not to use the contraception is ridiculous.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr Haydar

Hear, hear.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr Haydar

Great post. The lenders seem to be okay based on the article above, it is the police who are chasing this. Well without any actual “victim” what is the harm in letting this go? At this point is seems as though the only actual “victims” are Maria and her baby.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

This is appalling by any reasonable standard. She has served her punishment for having a child out of wedlock.

The issue now is that she and her baby are being imprisoned because she was unable to repay a high-interest predatory loan. If we are going to be honest here, then this person who issued the loan should be punished, because Islam prohibits loans with excessive interest, and the loan should be cancelled as invalid due to its violation of Shariah law. The courts need to step in and do the decent thing by the standards of human rights and Islamic principles.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Yes double standards and we know why, because she is a woman and a Filipina and not considered worthy of humane treatment.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

you don’t consider her worthy of humane treatment because she’s filipina?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

You miss the point, she was treated this way because she was a Filipina. Many in Qatar considered them easy and get everything they deserve.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Can you claim to be not from the ignorant or blind and make blanket generalizations? Isn’t that the same concept you’re critical of in a way? In this and the other comment

oryx_2020
oryx_2020
6 years ago

If indeed she took money from a friend or contact to start a business in Philippines then why not sell the business to get the money back from Philippines so she can pay her debt? I don’t think she is telling the truth about this money issue…It seems her real problem is money mismanagement.

Another thing falling in love and giving oneself just because he is a handsome Turkish guy is a lesson I hope she will not repeat. Good luck!

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  oryx_2020

Try setting up a business, it is far from easy here. Perhaps her partner would not let her sell it. Perhaps her investment just got swallowed up in the expense of setting up. Perhaps if she had been allowed to borrow from a bank rather than an individual charging extortionate interest, the problem wouldn’t have arisen. It is so easy to lay blame. In my opinion, imprisoning someone for debt is counter productive- they lose their income, accrue further debt outside, how can they pay it back?

Boby
Boby
6 years ago
Reply to  oryx_2020

“Another thing falling in love and giving oneself just because he is a handsome Turkish guy is a lesson I hope she will not repeat.”

This part of your comment is victim blaming. Say something about the coward bastard too, who left for good,leaving a pregnant women behind in a country where having a child or having sexual relationship out of wedlock is punishable.

Anna Lee A. Dionisio
Anna Lee A. Dionisio
5 years ago
Reply to  oryx_2020

she started a home base business in Doha.

Speed
Speed
6 years ago

It’s shocking how they treat expat migrant workers here.. But have you noticed it’s only the poor Filipino, Indian, Nepalese or any third world country woman who ends up in jail for being knocked up by their lovers.. When did a white western woman end up in jail for being pregnant ? That’s because she has a strong passport, she is well off and hence she goes back to her country to abort the baby. I personally know quite a few who have done that.. They just get rid of the unwanted baby and come back to Qatar and resume their high profile jobs..

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Speed

Big generalization there.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Speed

Very big generalization there!! What about the Qataris that do the same? I know of examples of that, but have yet to hear about a western woman doing so (although I’m sure maybe it happens, I just don’t see it because my Western friends are all married and living quite a usual married life).

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Isnt Generalization common theme here?You have experience of few people doing so & so,at DN make it out as “thats how the whole community roll”..!!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

The story is very sad, but let’s be honest, she made many mistakes and it is normal that she pays for it. You cannot blame Qatar for jailing her. So all those comments blaming the Qatari justice system are irrelevant in my opinion.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

If all opinions that differ from the norm are labeled as irrelevant, then there’s no point having a discussion, might as well cancel this forum.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

They are irrelevant with regards to this story, and I am not mentioning only the comments on the article but also the journalist’s repeated mentions of the judicial system being slow and overwhelmed by the huge number of cases. In this particular case the issues of the judicial system did not have any impact on the verdict. However we can discuss this in another article and mention better examples of people who suffered from the judicial system, such as the Villagio families and the JCC journalists. But that is a different story.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I really feel bad for this child. I hope she gets out before the baby is able to pay close attention to his surroundings.
However people should be more careful when engaging in premarital sex in this country. The law is very clear about having children out of wedlock here. People need to take proper precautions so they don’t get pregnant.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

So Amber, what are your thoughts on Qatari men getting women pregnant while not married? A previous DN article said that those illegitimate children get full Qatari citizenship and benefits as long as the father is Qatari, even out of wedlock. I hear what you are saying and agree with it, but I can’t help but be confused by the hypocrisy.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

At least I must admit I’m thankful that I haven’t seen those special words we all love in the comments: prohibited, not allowed (also comes in the version not allow…) and my personal favourite. ..haram.
It’s funny how usually the ones that are the loudest supporters of qatari laws aren’t actually qataris most of whom are trying to change things for the better, but usually expats. (I won’t go into details here as I might end up offending someone)
Hitchens’ forehead veins would pop out if he were alive.
All I can say is this: during the world cup ya’all will be able to experience new levels of haram. I can’t wait to see someone telling a, let’s say turkish football fan, how he should behave.

Some guys should really get laid or at least learn the art of pleasuring themselves. If they do it with a tie around their neck, double win 🙂

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

No need to be worried about offending. Truth is that some South Asians are the most conservative in Qatar and the Gulf in terms of their mentalities, when compared to the native population

Ano
Ano
6 years ago

I want you to follow Shariah law in this case , invalidate the loan and arrest the lender, because it is predatory with a high interest rate, which is contrary to riba (i.e. usury)….Sharia Law should be first applicable to Muslims rather than non-Muslims… Anyone has the guts to support it…lets see how i goes

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

In future perhaps those who fall into a similar trap with an unscrupulous lender who takes the passport should consider asking their Embassy for a replacement for a lost one. That may be unscrupulous as well but the passport belongs to a Country,not a loan shark. Having the pp may have let her travel to her own Country where she could have avoided some of unpleasantness. She may have left a little debt and rent etc. but the loan shark would have learned a lesson and the child knowing another first home and her with some dignity.

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