Corpun file 5964
Nando Times, USA, 30 October 1995
Filipina maid sentenced to caning, prison in Emirates
(c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
(c) 1995 Reuter Information Service
AL-AIN, United Arab Emirates (Oct 30, 1995 - 21:18 EST) - Filipina maid Sarah Balabagan, sentenced on Monday to 100 lashes for killing her employer, may appeal against the caning, the Philippines ambassador to the United Arab Emirates said.
"I am happy with the overall verdict. It is fair and square although I have a little reservation about the lashes. We may have to file an appeal that it be set aside," Roy Seneres said.
An Islamic appeal court in this oasis town sentenced Balabagan to 100 lashes, a year in jail and deportation on payment of 150,000 dirhams ($41,000) blood money to the family of the man she stabbed to death last year.
Journalists were excluded from the court but the ambassador said the young maid was joyful after the three-judge panel delivered the verdict.
"I could see her face was very happy when the translator told her about the verdict. But I doubt if she was aware of the 100 lashes," Seneres said.
Chief Judge Sheikh Biy'a bin Saliq of Mauritania said the caning could be carried out at any point during Balabagan's year in prison which he said would date from Monday.
Defence lawyer Salman Lotfi said the person carrying out the punishment would be required to tuck a book under the arm to limit the force applied.
Asked whether the 15 months Balabagan had already spent in prison since she stabbed 70-year-old Almas Mohammed al-Baloushi 34 times would count as part of the sentence Saliq said: "No. That is for special cases."
The judge's remarks dampened a mood of elation that erupted when Balabagan's parents and representatives of the UAE's 80,000-strong Filipino community heard the verdict.
"Payment of blood money and immediate release," Philippines Labour Attache Danilo Cruz shouted to reporters outside the court.
But Saliq said only a pardon by UAE President Sheikh Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahayan would lead to release before the one year jail term was served.
It was only after a personal appeal for mercy by Sheikh Zaid earlier this month that the victim's family agreed to drop their execution demand in exchange for blood money.
A Philippines industrialist has already donated the money to the Balabagan family.
UAE Public Prosecutor Sultan al-Juwaid said his office would decide whether to appeal against the verdict after reviewing it.
Balabagan's father, Karim, and mother, Bai, appeared relieved and confident of returning to their small southern Philippines village of Sultan Kudarat with their daughter.
"I am very happy. Sarah will go to study. We will celebrate. We will cook the Filipino way and we will pray," said Bai, dressed in a black veil and holding Balabagan's four-year-old sister Samrah.
Balabagan was sentenced to death for premeditated murder six weeks ago after an earlier court convicted her of manslaughter and jailed her for seven years.
In the Philippines, shock overcame joy at the news that she would be freed but only after 100 lashes and a year in jail.
The maid, meanwhile, appeared cheerful upon returning to jail after hearing her third verdict in four months.
"Sarah said thank God for the sentence. She was very happy," a prison official told Reuters.
Corpun file 5963
Nando Times, USA, 30 October 1995
Filipina maid's lashes depend on pain threshold
(c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
AL-AIN, United Arab Emirates (Oct 30, 1995 - 21:18 EST) - The United Arab Emirates judge who sentenced Filipina maid Sarah Balabagan to 100 lashes for killing her employer said her pain threshold would determine how the punishment would be applied.
"The intervals of the lashes will depend on how much she can bear. It could be 100 consecutive strokes or it could be done in intervals," Sheikh Biy'a bin Saliq, the chief judge of the al-Ain Islamic Sharia appeal court, told Reuters.
The three-judge court on Monday sentenced Balabagan to 100 lashes, a year in jail and deportation upon payment of 150,000 dirhams ($41,000) in blood money to the family of the man she stabbed to death last year.
Balabagan was condemned to death for killing 70-year-old Almas Mohammed al-Baloushi after the court rejected her claim that she stabbed him 34 times in self defence during a rape.
She escaped death earlier this month when his family dropped their execution demand in exchange for blood money after UAE President Sheikh Zaid Bin Sultan al-Nahayan personally intervened and urged mercy.
In the Philippines, relief at the sparing of Balabagan from execution became shock as news emerged that the young maid would suffer physical punishment.
France asked its ally the UAE to spare Balabagan the 100 lashes, dubbing the punishment as "contrary to our own customs."
Philippines ambassador Roy Seneres said Balabagan might appeal the lashing sentence.
Judge Saliq dampened hopes that Balabagan would return to her poor village in the southern Philippines anytime soon.
"We sentenced her to one year in prison and 100 lashes as a punishment. The sentence starts today," he told reporters who were barred from the court room.
Saliq said the canings could be carried out at any point during Balabagan's year in prison in this oasis town.
"Usually these lashings are carried out in public in front of a mosque. But in this case, it will be done in the prison," he said. "They won't say anything during the punishment. They will just count the strikes."
A doctor and a court expert on lashing will attend the punishment "to make sure it is being carried out to teach a lesson based on Islam."
A judicial source said a policewoman will carry out the lashings with a book tucked under her arm to limit the force of the thin wooden cane.
"The lashing will be light. It will be done to her back. A doctor will be present to make sure she can withstand the pain," he said. "Sometimes they can strike with several canes at once to reduce the number of strokes."
Daily Express, London, 31 October 1995
Maid, 16, ordered to pay family £25,000 'blood money'
Lash for teenager who killed rape boss
From Mike Theodoulou
A TEENAGE maid who killed her employer after he tried to rape her was sentenced to 100 lashes yesterday.
She was also told to pay £25,000 "blood money" to the man's family.
The flogging was ordered by an Islamic appeal court in the United Arab Emirates which overturned a death sentence. But the family of 16-year-old Sarah Balabagan, who comes from the Philippines, said the beating could kill her anyway.
"One hundred lashes are terrifying," said her weeping brother Mohammed.
Lawyers say they expect her to escape serious injury because the man carrying out the punishment will have to place a copy of the Koran under his arm to limit the force of the cane.
However, women in Iran and other Islamic countries have been crippled for life by similar medieval-style punishments.
Although Sarah has already spent 15 months in custody, she will have to serve a one-year jail sentence.
Follow-up: 10 February 1996 - Philippine Maid Gets Symbolic 100 Lashes