Byon March 9, 2017
The Department of International Relations says a couple arrested for having sex before marriage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is being subjected to a legal process in line with UAE laws.
The couple, 29-year-old South African Emlyn Culverwell and his 27-year-old girlfriend Iryna Nohai, originally from the Ukraine, were detained in Abu Dhabi.
This after doctors discovered Iryna, who had gone to a hospital with stomach cramps, was pregnant.
But spokesperson for the International Relations Nelson Kgwete told YOU the South African embassy in Abu Dhabi is not in a position to interfere in the legal process in the UAE.
The department has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.
The couple was taken into custody on January 29, but details of their arrest have since emerged.
When doctors found that Iryna was pregnant they alerted authorities, as it is considered an offence to have sex before marriage in the UAE.
TimesLive reports that under Sharia law‚ Nohai is guilty of “Zina”‚ an Islamic term for extramarital sex.
According to MailOnline, the couple, who met and started dating in the UAE capital, was arrested at a hospital after not being able to provide marriage certificates.
They were first taken to Yas Police Station, and then to Al Wathba Prison.
They have not been charged because authorities are still investigating the paternity of the child, how long the couple was sexually active and Iryna’s HIV status.
According to News24 who spoke to Emlyn’s mother, Linda Culverwell, the pair recently got engaged.
The Ukrainian embassy is reportedly involved and was still trying to obtain permission for the couple to get married or for them to be deported.
“We are trying to get messages to the two to say we love them and that they shouldn’t be worried… what concerns me most, is that we actually haven’t got a clue how they are,” News24 quoted Linda as saying.
“All the Department of International Relations is prepared to say is that we have ‘to be patient’, but there are three lives at stake here.”