In the absence of the defendants, The court in Kuwait City, Kuwait, already decided on death penalty as punishment to the couple allegedly responsible for the murder of the Filipina domestic helper whose body was found inside a freezer in the Gulf state a few months back.
This was the first hearing for Joanna Demafelis’ case, and although the decision can still be appealed, both defendants need to appear in the Kuwaiti court as stated by one of the sources. The husband, Nader Essam Assaf, is still in the custody of Lebanon while his Syrian wife, Mona Hassoun is still at large in Damascus in her home country, Syria.
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The Lebanese and Syrian couple were arrested just last month in Damascus following a manhunt by the international police.
Court Orders Death Penalty to Couple Responsible for the “Maid Freezer Murder Case”
The murder of Joanna Demafelis may as well have been the last straw in the reported abuse and maltreatment that Overseas Filipino Workers experience in the country prompting the Philippines’ actions to repatriate its people from Kuwait along with the presidential order implementing the travel ban for Filipinos to the said country; the rift between these nations is still yet to be resolved.
Renato Pedro Villa, The Philippine Ambassador, states that the Philippines will await the extradition of the couple while Sarah Arriola, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs will be holding talks on Sunday with Kuwaiti authorities on labor laws and conditions of Filipino workers.
On the other hand, Silvestre Bello III, the Philippines’ Labor Secretary, was very appreciative of Kuwait’s “swift justice” for the domestic helper’s murder. He also mentions that the recent efforts of Kuwait could lead to alleviating the travel ban to the said country.
“This, plus the signing of the MOU may give me the reason to recommend to the President the partial lifting of the total deployment ban,” Bello stated.