Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Muslim woman who let baby die escapes prison

A woman has walked free from court after being convicted of leaving her newly born child to die.

Fatima Ali, 26, a “devout Muslim” from Greater Manchester, feared that she would bring shame and dishonour on her family for having the child out of wedlock.

After giving birth to the child alone in her bedroom, she cut the umbilical cord, and then went out with her family.

At some point in between she texted a photograph of the child to its father, Kazi Mohammed Dilwar-Hussein, who was in Bangladesh.

Hussein is said to have sent Ali money for an abortion, but Ali failed to attend appointments.

The baby girl died within several hours of being born, yet her life could quite possibly have been saved had she received medical care.

Ali waited until the next morning, wrapped the dead infant in a scarf, and then dumped the body in a nearby garden when on her way to work.

A post mortem examination failed to establish the cause of death.

Appearing in court, she entered a guilty plea to cruelty and endeavouring to conceal the birth of a child.

She was sentenced to 26 weeks prison, suspended for 2 years, and ordered to seek psychiatric help.

Running through the entire trial were the concepts of “honour” and “shame”.

The defence made reference to “cultural processes that some cannot begin to understand.”

“Life is a precious thing and not something to be thrown away in a nearby garden” said Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, “Whatever the community or familial dishonour or shame, real or perceived, that Ali may have felt, it did not justify the tragic death of the most vulnerable victim, a new born baby boy or girl.”

A life left to die within hours of birth, thrown away due to reasons of (supposed) honour and culture, costs the perpetrator a 26 week suspended sentence it seems.

So much for “precious”.

Chief Superintendent Jon Rush commented that, “It was a thorough and painstaking investigation, which was undertaken with great sensitivity. It impacted on the local Asian community in East Bury and I want to thank them for their support. There is no doubt that Fatima could not speak openly

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