Monday, July 17, 2006

Diya Believe This?

A Ras Al Khaimah court has imposed the following sentence on a Pakistani heavy vehicle driver who collided with a car and killed two UAE nationals, according to Gulf News:

1) Four months in jail, followed by deportation.
2) Pay Dhs 200,000 diya (blood money) to the family of each victim.
3) And:

'The court also ordered the suspect to fast two consecutive months for each victim as the court evaluated the accident as unpremeditated murder.'

So, four consecutive months of fasting. He'll be dead after one month of that (if they give him water, otherwise it's only three or four days), without a doubt. And what, pray tell, is 'unpremeditated murder?' By definition, murder involves premeditation. If there is no premeditation then it is manslaughter, ie death by negligence or (sharp intake of breath) accident. So they're gonna kill the guy for this.

RAK - get a grip!


Blogger secretdubai said...

It'll be like Ramadan fasting, surely? Nothing from dawn to dusk, then a slap-up feast in Al Wathba's five-star restaurant.

My favourite part was this:

The court also suspended the driving licence of the 37-year-old Pakistani man for two months

A two-month driving ban? Yes - that'll teach him!

10:55 pm  
Blogger nzm said...

I would think that with having to survive prison, fasting, paying 2 diyas plus the threat of civil cases against him, the 2 month licence suspension will be the least of his worries.

11:20 am  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

Because his UAE license will be much needed during the 4 months he's in jail and after his immediate deportion?

1:42 pm  
Blogger halfmanhalfbeer said...

I read this yesterday and the first thing I thought was whether you would blog it!

I read it and sat there in stunned silence, really didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I first of all thought that it must have been a spoof but aparently not.

*shakes head in a disbelieving kind of way*


2:41 pm  
Anonymous Moderate Enlightenment said...

With all due respect, I fail to see what the big deal is. A very short custodial sentence followed be deportation sounds just about right for manslaughter, and is along the lines of what many 'secular' courts in many countries would consider. The driving ban is an irrelevance as he would be deported. All of this takes care of the 'criminal law' element.

The other parts of his sentence (the diyat and the fasting), are nothing to do with secular criminal law, but with spiritual cleansing - what pray is the issue with a Muslim court, in a Muslim country, implementing Muslim spiritual sanctions on a Muslim 'criminal/suspect' for an alleged crime against other Muslims?

Or are we supposed to tug our forelocks and defer to the Old Bailey?

On your specific concern about fasting affecting his good health, I hope you were joking. Most Muslims, even some of the very old and frail, fast for one month every year, without it having any detrimental effect on their health, most gain weight. Why would it be any different for this poor chap? In any case, I am not sure how the fasting will be enforced/policed as 10 or 12 hour surveillance seems impractical. As such, I suspect it will be self-policed - most practising Muslims, especially those from South Asia, would go through a lot before even countenancing breaking a fast, even though Islamic guidelines are fairly lenient for most fasts.

Apologies if the above is offensively worded; that was not the intention, and honest, I do not have log-sized chip on my colonial shoulder. :-) I do feel, however, that a bit more cultural understanding, and a bit less outright condemnation, would be helpful on all sides.

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Moderate Enlightenment said...

Sorry forgot to add the following:

You are right, "unpremeditated murder" sounds moronic; however, I guess that is just a poor translation of whatever the Arabic for manslaughter is.

3:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He could always claim he is Dallas Austin.... just might work... this is RAK!!

4:11 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Moderate Enlightenment: I took 'fasting' to mean the real sort, where you don't get anything to eat at all. If it's Ramadan-type fasting then he'll be ok.

The report is unclear on this point. It is also unclear on whether the driver was considered to be negligent / reckless (and if he was then four months seems very light), or whether it was simply an accident.

But I wonder how he's going to scrape together Dhs 400,000? I don't see how there's anything 'spiritually cleansing' about that. I mean, I could see it if the perpetrator had the means to raise that kind of money, but this guy is a South Asian truck driver. He'll be rotting in jail for an awful long time after his official sentence is done if he's not able to pay.

4:12 pm  
Anonymous Moderate Enlightenment said...

Keefieboy, thank you the reply. I am pretty sure the fasting is the Ramadan-type; the other kind would be judicial murder! Hardly the thing the court would announce to the press, I would have thought... even if it is RAK! :-)

On a serious note, fasting is not uncommon in Islam as a spiritual atonement for one's sins; one of the ways, together with charity, which Muslims are encouraged to use to purify themselves from 'sins'. In no instance is this fasting anything other than the Ramadan sort.

I agree with your concerns about the AED 400K fine; I sort of assumed the insurance would take care of that, a bit like the legal cover that comes with all good car insurance packages in the UK? Of course the guy cannot afford that on his own; hopefully, the custodial sentence would not be increased in case of non-payment.


4:23 pm  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

As a Westerner who straggles about among Muslims, whenever Muslims say 'fast' they only understand 'no food, water, or smoking' from the pre-dawn call to prayer (about an hour before dawn) until the sunset call to prayer (exactly at sunset).

Many Muslims fast for two months a year, plus several other days having religious significance (though only Ramadan is required).

Muslims do not understand the word 'fast' as used for, e.g., Jewish fasting (no food, water, or smoking for 24 hours) nor pre-Vatican Catholic fasting (reduce food by 1/3 and cut out meat for 40 days) nor Hindu fasting (which I personally do not understand at all, except that it is quite unlike any of the other three).

The word 'fasting' would never mean going without food during the hours between sunset and the dawn call to prayer to any Muslim.

It made the New York Times when a Westerner called the Child Protection Agency after some Hindus in New York City told him they would be fasting with their children for several days.

It is perhaps unfortunate that several radically different concepts are translated with the same English word.

And that this causes such a colossal failure to communicate.

7:16 pm  

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