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Couple are being held in jail for violating UAE’s sharia law

Couple are being held in jail for violating UAE’s sharia law

A motion was presented in the South African parliament yesterday condemning the incarceration of Emlyn Culverwell, 29, and his pregnant fiancée‚ Iryna Nohai, 27, above, who are being held in a United Arab Emirates prison for having had an illicit sexual relationship.

The motion was presented by Democratic Alliance MP and deputy shadow environmental minister Terry Stander.

Whether this will have the effect of freeing the Culverville, a South African, and Ukrainian Nohai, is anyone’s guess.

Earlier, according to this report, South African officials said there was nothing they can do to free the pair.

The SA Department of International Relations and Cooperation media liaison spokesman Nelson Kgwete that the department was aware of the matter but the South African government was unable to interfere.

Standard consular assistance is being provided to the couple but the South African government cannot interfere in the judicial process in another sovereign country. Pregnant unmarried expatriate women are at risk of getting arrested‚ which happens from time to time as it is regarded as an offence in the UAE.

Culverwell’s mother Linda and his family have been fighting for the release of the couple for the last six weeks.

The couple were arrested in an Abu Dhabi hospital when a doctor revealed Nohai’s pregnancy. They were arrested when they could not provide a marriage certificate and for “acting immorally”. They were taken to Yas Police Station and then later to Al Wathba Prison.

Culverwell moved to the UAE five years ago to work as a water rescue operative at Yas Waterworld. It was in Abu Dhabi that he met Nohai‚ who worked as an administration officer‚ and the couple started their courtship.

On January 29‚ the couple’s world shattered when Nohai complained of stomach cramps. Being concerned for his fiancée’s well-being‚ Culverwell took her to the Medeor Medical Centre in Yas Mall for a check-up. It is then when the doctor broke the news that Nohai was pregnant.

People found guilty of flouting the country’s strict morality laws can be flogged and locked up for months to years under the Sharia-based legal system.

Since their arrest‚ no one‚ including employers and family members‚ has been able to make contact with the couple.

Linda Culverwell‚ who has gleaned information from her son’s colleagues‚ said the couple appeared before a judge once but were denied bail‚ denied any state appointed legal representation and were not charged.
The couple requested to be married in prison‚ but the same judge denied the request.

A Christian Church in Yas said that it was willing to marry the couple‚ at a substantial fee‚ but the same judge refused.

Culverwell’s mother said:

Our embassy is not doing enough. We hear nothing back from them‚ phone calls go unanswered‚ vague responses are given and even the emergency numbers don’t work. We have tried going through the consulate. The woman said she was going to see Emlyn after the second week after arrest‚ but never gave feedback. We have tried Amnesty International‚ Foreign Affairs and Human Rights‚ but we are nowhere closer to having word of them.

In the meantime‚ a colleague at Yas Waterworld‚ received word that part of the reason why the couple hasn’t been charged or allowed to marry is that Nohai is still undergoing tests to determine the paternity of the baby‚ to determine their HIV status as well as to see how long Noahi has been sexually active.

Linda Culverwell said:

I find it so degrading‚ I have worked my whole life in the medical field and I know there is no such test. The poor girl gave no consent for this. She must feel so violated‚ she must feel raped. At least the Ukraine embassy is trying hard to intervene and is pushing for them to get married.

I wish they would just deport them. Emlyn knows nothing. He probably doesn’t even know we are trying to get them out.

The UAE’s penal code criminalises Zina offences‚ especially for “guilty” women‚ with a minimum sentence of one year in prison. Zina offences include consensual sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage and other breaches of  “morality”. Hundreds of women‚ most foreign‚ are locked up in the UAE every year for having sex outside of marriage – including pregnant women and rape victims. According to Human Rights Watch‚ the UAE’s Zina codes violate international human rights law which the UAE have signed treaties for.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

15 responses to “Couple are being held in jail for violating UAE’s sharia law”

  1. 1859 says:

    I saw this too. What an inhumane system to do this to two people for following their feelings. Religion blights the lives of so many on this planet. This ‘morality’ is not just immoral, it’s downright evil. It is all about control, power, subjugation, submission and humiliation. So the next time you fill your tank with petrol from the UAE, remember what you are helping to support.

  2. Robster says:

    Meanwhile, Christian “authorities” in other nations watch the UAE’s proceedings with envy, wishing they could expose others in their own nations to a similar religious joy while enjoying the power of forcing their iron age “morality” on everybody else.

  3. RussellW says:

    Why oh why do Westerners or any non-Muslim, take jobs in those Islamic crap holes? Yes, the salaries are high but there’s a downside—Sharia.

  4. Tewton says:

    Islam … Pure evil. I would say Islam is worse than Nazism, which itself fed off religious hatred, the catholic hate of Jews. I know that’s an assertion that will inflame many but just think what islamists would really love to do if they thought they were strong enough to behave with impunity from severe and overwhelming international response.

  5. Paul says:

    RusselW
    there is no sharia law for foreign workers living in the UAE it applies only to muslims. Whilst the UAE’s laws may have Islamic content or influence its laws are predominantly civil in nature borrowing from the Egyptian codes (which are Napolinic in origin), international treaties and oddly sometimes a common law judicial precedent approach (due to Britians strong ties and influence in its legal system).
    And Dubai is reasonably tolerant unless someone does
    something silly, stupid or against public morals – and is or can be caught for it, or as in this case gets pregnant and they may well have upset someone who is intolerant and that is usually not a UAE national (I mean real Arab national not some new passport porters like Iranians or Egyptians or Syrians for example).
    The girl is Ukrainian which might not help her. Dubai is full of fSU girls working as prostitites there are literally tens of thousands of them there (and of course many other girls from all over the world).

  6. Prior says:

    Paul … so who are te customers of the battalions of hookers … surely not muslims.

  7. Paul says:

    Abu Dhabi is a lot more Islamic and conservative in its approach.

  8. Paul says:

    Prior.
    Lol. Have a guess!
    Everyone needs a visa. These are provided by hotels or funny enough in some cases Policemen – but that’s ok as these (poor) girls are holidaymakers or ‘girlfriends’.
    There is a lot of tourism into the UAE and its big business (Dubai especially) a lot from the other GCC countries. Single and families. The women shop themselves stupid – the men go to bars and clubs – where there are literally hundreds of these girls.

  9. Michael Glass says:

    Just a small point, but the couple are imprisoned for having an ILLicit sexual relationship – according to sharia law. Evidence of this relationship was Elicited from the fact that the woman was found to be pregnant when she went to a doctor for a check-up.

    Now I thought that doctors were supposed to be bound by medical ethics, like respecting the confidentiality of their patients. But it looks as though medical ethics are not part of Sharia law in the UAE.

  10. RussellW says:

    Paul,

    Sharia isn’t a legal system in any liberal democratic sense. So your observation that ‘civil’ law is used to enforce Islamic principles really supports my, and other commenters’ arguments. The couple were arrested for behavior that would not be an offence in a Western democracy. Michael Glass has already made the point about the appalling state of medical ‘ethics’ in the UAE.

  11. Paul says:

    RusselW
    you simply make a crass comment why do westerners go to ‘Islamic crap holes’. So you have said nothing.
    It isn’t a liberal democratic legal system, the UAE legal system is neither of those things. Don’t forget the country is very new. Since 1971. And no where is utopia.
    I stated the law is civil and codified using Islamic influence – sharia law per se, does not apply to foreigners, these are separate points. The legal system does apply shaira or Islamic concepts or influence primarily as Islam controls every aspect of their lives, hence it is unavoidable.
    And with respect it is their laws and they can do what they like, liberalism or democracy don’t exist in (probably) any Arab countries.
    The rules of the game are there for all, just like they ought to be here in the U.K., and if anyone falls foul of the law and are caught they will suffer the consequences.
    As to the doctor, I am not surprised as he or she would be under an obligation to report such behaviour. They have no ethics. I do feel for the girl however because she won’t understand what is happening and likely isn’t truly giving consent to any of these tests.

  12. Barry Duke says:

    Correction made, Michael Glass.

  13. Prior says:

    Paul … so who are te customers of the battalions of hookers … surely not muslims.

    Answer Yes or No please.

  14. John the Drunkard says:

    Muslims (at least male ones) are entitled to the ‘use’ of any woman anywhere. ‘Muslim’ women are the property of Muslim men, either their fathers, husbands, or the Umma in general.

    The various forms of Islamic ‘law’ (and there are at least five different competing versions) ALL include dictates for the ‘proper’ treatment of slaves, conquered populations, and women. The three groups are on just about equivalent footing.

    No civilized person should put themselves into jeopardy by choosing to live under the Muslim heel. Many appear to be deceived, or too cynical to protect themselves.

  15. 1859 says:

    No matter how fine the legal hairs are split and split again, the whole social system in these Arab countries is one of religious totalitarianism for the benefit of men only.

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