Spared from a death sentence, a 16-year-old Filipino maid was sentenced Monday to one year in prison and 100 “light lashes” for killing her employer after he allegedly tried to rape her.
In the third verdict handed down in the lengthy and complicated case, Sarah Balabagan also was ordered to pay blood money to the dead man’s family, as is customary in the Arab world.
Her lawyer, Mohammed al-Amin, said the flogging would be “light” and “symbolic.”
The court ruled that Balabagan should be deported as soon as she is freed. But there was some confusion as to when that might be.
Al-Amin said the 14 months Balabagan has spent in prison since her July 1994 arrest would be considered time served and she could be released in a few days.
But the prosecutor, Sheik Sultan al-Juweid, said the one-year sentence began Monday and could be waived or reduced only on the orders of U.A.E. President Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Even without a waiver, Balabagan could get out in nine months with good behavior, the prosecutor said.
Sheik Biya bin Salik, one of the three judges, said the “previous months served in prison will not be taken into account.”
Danilo Cruz, labor attache at the Philippines embassy in Abu Dhabi, said he initially understood that Balabagan would be set free but said the embassy is now seeking clarification.
Balabagan was sentenced to death last month for killing 85-year-old Almas Mohammed al-Baloushi in July 1994 when he allegedly tried to rape her.
The Islamic court that sentenced her revoked the verdict Oct. 14 after al-Baloushi’s family, at Sheik Zayed’s intervention, dropped its demand for her execution and settled for diyah, or blood money, of $41,000.