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NRI widow asked to trade death sentence for blood money

DUBAI, February 7 2005

A 22-year-old woman from Hyderabad, convicted of murdering her elderly Arab husband, received a new lease of life when the relatives of the husband dropped their demand for the death penalty in exchange for blood money.

The Indian Association in the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah in the UAE, which paid an advance of Dh 10,000 towards the Dh 75,000 demanded by the relatives, has obtained a written agreement to spare the life of Fatima Begum Abdul Qayum, who was married to the 80-year old Arab when she was 15.

The Sharia Court had sentenced her to death in 1997, which the appeal court had subsequently upheld. Fatima had denied the crime and claimed one of her family members had killed her husband but could not provide proof to the court.

The association, which is expecting the release order for submission to prison authorities, is making arrangements for Fatima to fly home. It had been able to negotiate and bring down the family's original demand of Dh 150,000 in blood money.

Fatima, who has been on the death row for the last seven years, was still unable to believe her luck.

''I don't believe that at last I will be able to go back to my home country and peacefully live among the people with whom I share deep and sincere feelings of love,'' she said.

She said she was forced to marry the old man under the 'compulsion' of poverty. (UNI)


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