Kuwait court condemns couple to death for Filipina in freezer murder

KUWAIT CITY: A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced in absentia a Lebanese guy and his Syrian partner to death by hanging over the murder of a Filipina house maid, a judicial source said.The court

provided the sentence in the very first hearing when it comes to Joanna Demafelis, the 29-year-old housemaid whose body was discovered in a freezer in Kuwait previously this year.

The sentencing can still be appealed if the couple go back to Kuwait, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.Philippines Ambassador

Renato Pedro Rental property declined to talk about the decision, telling AFP his country would await the rendition of the convicts. The Lebanese-Syrian couple was jailed in February in the Syrian capital Damascus following an Interpol manhunt. Syrian authorities handed the husband, Nader Essam Assaf,

over to Lebanese authorities, while his Syrian wife stayed in custody in Damascus.Philippines Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Arriola on Sunday was arranged to hold talks with officials in Kuwait on conditions for Filipino workers, including labour law violations.The Demafelis murder set off a diplomatic crisis in between Kuwait and the Philippines, triggering Manila to impose a departure ban for its residents planning to operate in the Gulf state.An approximated 252,000 Filipinos and Filipinas work in Kuwait and depend upon remittances to assist their families back home. In the wake of the Demafelis murder, Manila has actually been working to facilitate the return of its nationals who wish to leave, consisting of those who have lost

their residency status. Ambassador Villa informed AFP Sunday that his nation has currently repatriated 4,000 Filipino nationals residing in Kuwait without the needed documents.

“We are now in talks with Kuwaiti authorities to protect an amnesty that will permit 6,000 Filipinos living without documents to return,”he said.Rights groups have voiced alarm

over the predicament of employees in the Gulf and other Arab nations, where migrant labour is managed under a system called “kafala “. The kafala, or sponsorship,

system ties migrant workers ‘visas to their companies, prohibiting workers from leaving the country or changing jobs without previous authorization.– AFP

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