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Posted On: 17 July 2008 12:55 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

‘Illicit links’ couple avert jail after marriage

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A CHRISTIAN man and a Muslim woman escaped jail for having illicit relations after he converted to Islam and the couple married. Lawyers for the pair had asked for the charge to be quashed following the union, but presiding judge Mamon Hamour said the subsequent wedding did not erase the original crime and he passed down a suspended one-year prison sentence. He explained that “marriage was a holy contract” and it deserved more respect than to be used to cover up a crime. However, the court applauded the man’s decision to convert to Islam and admitted that the fact that they were now husband and wife had helped reduce their sentence. The couple’s illicit affair was uncovered after the woman accused her then lover of blackmailing her. She said he had in his possession a number of intimate photographs which he had threatened to put on the Internet unless she had paid him QR100,000. The court heard that the Lebanese pair had hoped to marry but both their families had been against the idea because she was older than him and because of their religious differences. The trial also heard that the couple had lived together for a while in Doha in 2005 because the woman “was unaware that such a matter was illegal in Qatar”. The man denied attempts to blackmail his then girlfriend claiming she had concocted the story after falsely believing he was about to marry another woman. Officers found no evidence of compromising pictures on his computer. Acting on their lawyers’ advice, the two of them buried the hatchet and tied the knot in March after the groom-to-be converted on October 31, 2007. Despite mentioning the alleged blackmail plot, judge Hamour said he would only deal with the charge brought by the Public Prosecution of illicit relations. The court also stopped short of deporting the pair “to allow them to establish a family in Doha”. However, legal sources said the couple’s conviction could affect any decision to renew their residence permits.