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26 December, 2005

The lucky mispelt adulteress

Sharjah law enforcement: what images of wisdom, competence and efficiency does that stir up in most of our minds? Very few, and even less after reading this gem, when the wrong Indonesian-suspected adulteress was deported, because her name was similar to that of another Indonesian convicted-adulteress:

Sharjah: An Indonesian woman suspected of adultery was deported by a Sharjah prison before she had been sentenced by the court, sources told Gulf News on Saturday.

Sharjah jail officials mistook the woman for another Indonesian woman who had already been jailed and lashed for adultery charges, and was awaiting deportation after serving her term, they said.

The confusion also arose because of the similarity in the women's names: Lilian had yet to be sentenced, while Lileet had completed her term.

Jail officials are blaming the Arabic language, because "n" and "t" are written similary: the n with one dot above, and the "t" with two. Of course if they wrote Arabic properly, the names would be as patently dissimilar as they are in English.

But with so many Arabic speakers too lazy or too clueless to use vowel diacritics in official documents, their writing reads a bt lk ths. Intelligible enough, except when you come to trying to tell the difference between K(i)t and K(a)t.

And of course there's no standardisation of transliteration, coupled with immensely sloppy spelling standards, meaning that Susie Peters may end up back in in English again as Soosee Peteers or Soozey Beetrs. Not a great way to build a database if you ever want to cross-reference with foreign governments and law enforcement agencies: police and census operators, take note.

In another incident in the same jail, officials were about to lash a woman 120 times for adultery, as the woman pleaded for mercy, the sources said.

But they stopped just in the nick of time when they realised they were about to administer the punishment for the second time.

Sharjah officials: words literally fail.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever wonder how this country is a decent place to live in, until u mess with the law here...

26 December, 2005 00:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Mother of God!
120 lashes? WTF are we living in the midival ages? Oh cmon Sharjah police. You don't have to be so strict you know. Maybe after you realise how much pathetic you act could bring some prosperity to your emirate..

Literally though, words fail...

26 December, 2005 01:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked on Arabic related issues, including but not limited to writing an Arabic spell checker, I can tell you from experience that transliteration is hardly as simple a thing as you may think. It also is something that is problematic across different languages and is not unique to the Arabic language. For instance, my name, 'Mohammed' is spelled 'Mohamad', 'Mohammed', 'Mohamed', 'Muhammad', etc.

Also, your research efforts are commendable, but you are a bit off when it comes to diacritics. The example you have provided of vowel diacritics is correct, however, it is not a result of laziness of cluelessness. It is a common form of writing. Diacritics are rarely used in formal texts, unless it is needed for clarification (when a word could be read in two ways and actually make sense in the same sentence). Pick up any newspaper or book in Arabic, and you will find very few of them.

However, they are present in older texts like the Quran, for obvious reasons.

In the specific case of the 'n' and 't', it isn't really a case of them not writing it properly, it is simply a question of handwriting. Most people write the two dots in one small line, while others actually put two dots. Had they done everything electronically, this kind of problem may not of have become an issue.

In either case, none of this excuses the Sharjah Police from being utterly incompetent.. but I just thought I would clarify things on the Arabic language.

26 December, 2005 02:14  
Blogger Parv said...

120 lashes.

And yet, prostitution prevails.

How ironic.

26 December, 2005 07:33  
Blogger The Devil's Advocate said...

Adultery - 120 Lashes and some unspecified Jail time (usuallu no less than a year )

Insulting the Flag - Upto 5 years Jail time

Homosexuality - Genetic/Hormonal Modification, Social stigamtism, Jail Time

Rape (If she wasn't wearing something "sexy") : Maybe a year

Rape (If she was wearing something "sexy") : ?


If you are sooooooo religious why don't you read some of the material that some Islamic scholars have to say about how ISlam views homosexuality instead of assuming that your own society-informed homophobia is based on your religion (which it actually isn't).

26 December, 2005 08:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

120 lashes for adultery.

What about the thousands of Russian Sex slaves in Dubai? I wonder who they serve?

I keep forgetting, 2+2=5.

26 December, 2005 09:59  
Blogger Blogger said...

0_o i didn't comment yet and someone talks about me ? what did i do!

well i read this thing yesterday and i was searching for other cases happened

the mispelling is just an excuse for me
honestly if a P can't be translated then use a ops the letters are not visible anyway they can use iranian letters it's not a scandal so they can distingish b p v and so on

26 December, 2005 11:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if 120 lashes seem less to you, then the sharjah police would be more than happy to demonstrate its power.

I am looking for a case when they ass-lashed a local for any given crime there is.

Its google's cup'otee, but somehow it's failing me today.

26 December, 2005 11:38  
Blogger luckyfatima said...

um Arabs aren't lazy when it comes to diacritics, omitting VOWEL diacritics is a common convention is Arabic and few other languages (like hebrew, for one).

English is weird enough. Enough is "enuff", why is it not "enoo" like through or "enow" like though? But all of those phonetic possibilities are represented with "ough"

anywayz, these cases are due to sheer inefficiency and carelessness, not cuz of deficiencies in Arabic. It's like in the US a law was made that surgery patients have to mark the body part on which will be operated because there were some cases of doctors amputating the wrong foot, performing a mastectomy on the wrong breast, etc. Surely this was because of the stupidity of the doctors and not due to problems with English.

26 December, 2005 13:27  
Blogger Balushi said...

Belushi You stupid brainless!

Dont post suchg pointless comment under my name.

Secy pls delete his comment.

26 December, 2005 13:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

120 lashes for 'adultery'? Is this adultery as in "being caught in mutually agreed-on affair with a married man" or as in "resisting the advances of an influential man and then having trumped-up charges about you and the driver/gardener filed", I wonder.

26 December, 2005 17:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pfft.. Sharjah

26 December, 2005 23:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if she was suspected of adultery, what did the one doing the poking get?

27 December, 2005 07:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a fucked up country. how on earth do ppl live there?

28 December, 2005 07:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 'nomad camels'. So much attention is given to the adulteresses and the prostitutes, but we never hear about the other people involved. At the end of the day "it takes two to tango!"

28 December, 2005 21:50  

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