An unmarried Muslim man and woman, who were found guilty of having illicit sex, have been sentenced to 100 lashes each by the UAE’s top court. In addition, the man was awarded one year in jail for the crime.
Official court documents stated that the young expats had been referred to court in one of the northern emirates after investigations confirmed that they had developed sexual relationship (zina).
Public prosecutors said the pair had confessed to having an illicit relation during interrogation.
Prosecutors charged the man and woman with illicit sex and requested that they be punished according to the provisions of the Islamic Sharia law and Article 121/1 of the Federal Penal Code.
Under the Islamic Sharia law, the punishment for having illicit sex is 100 lashes for unmarried persons.
The court of first instance had sentenced the pair to 100 lashes each in addition to one-year jail sentence for both. The pair challenged the ruling at the appellate court, which upheld the 100 lashes verdict but cancelled the jail sentences.
Prosecutors were not satisfied with the order and appealed to the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. They stressed that it was wrong for the appellate court to cancel the jail sentence because it is the punishment prescribed by law.
In its ruling, the Federal Supreme Court affirmed that Article 1 of the Penal Code under the provisions of Islamic Sharia law stipulates giving 100 lashes and expatriation or distancing for a period of one year to an unmarried person, and that it is not permissible to reduce or increase the punishment. The judge explained that in this case, the one-year jail sentence serves the expatriation period.
Accordingly, the top court decided to amend the ruling by the appellate court by adding the one-year prison sentence for the man in addition to the 100 lashes for each. The jail sentence for the woman was dropped.