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Sparking outrage in Manila and other world capitals!

Friday 1 Dec 95 
By Steven Swindells

DUBAI, Nov 30 (Reuter) - Filipina maid Sarah Balabagan will not appeal against the jail sentence imposed by an Islamic court in the United Arab Emirates for killing her 70-year-old Arab employer, judicial and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

Balabagan's defence team and UAE public prosecutors had until today to file an appeal in the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court against a jail and caning sentence.

"Her parents are not going to appeal,'' Philippines ambassador Roy Seneres told Reuters, adding that they would return to their village in the southern Philippines next week. A UAE Islamic appeal court in the oasis town of al-Ain last month sentenced the young maid to 100 lashes and a year in prison to be followed by deportation for killing Almas Mohammed al-Baloushi in July 1994.

An Islamic Sharia court in September found Balabagan guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to death, sparking outrage in Manila and other world capitals. It rejected her claim that she stabbed Baloushi 34 times in self defence during what she said was a rape.

Baloushi's family agreed to drop their demand for Balabagan's execution in exchange for $41,000 in blood money after UAE President Sheikh Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahayan personally intervened and urged mercy.

Judicial sources said the public prosecutor had also declined to ask the Supreme Court to review the sentence.

"The prosecutor can take the case (to the Supreme Court) but he didn't,'' a UAE court judge said. UAE officials said the one year prison term would start from the date of her sentence in October and that the canings would be "symbolic.''

Prison officials have said the caning would be carried out just before Balabagan's prison term ends. Calls for a general pardon by Sheikh Zaid have been made by Balabagan and some of her supporters and family.

But a UAE official had all but ruled out a pardon. Balabagan is in al-Ain prison where she is one of about 2,000 female inmates.

Source: Reuters News Service

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