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No extradition in murder of Joana
May 12, 2018, 8:23 am
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The main accused in the alleged murder of the Filipina household worker Joana Demafelis — Lebanese man and his Syrian wife — will not be extradited to Kuwait to stand trial, said manilatimes.net quoting the Philippines presidential spokesman Harry Roque. In a video interview Roque said, “They will not extradite them to Kuwait but there will be a trial in Lebanon with participation from the Kuwait authorities as well as Philippine authorities,” he added.

The accused are Nader Essam Assaf and Mona, who stand accused of torturing and murdering the 29-year-old domestic helper. Assaf was arrested in Syria and later turned over to Lebanese authorities.

An autopsy report showed Demafelis was severely beaten before being placed in the freezer more than a year ago. In the meantime, news.mb.com. ph said the Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano Thursday said he will meet his counterpart in Kuwait before the possible signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would provide more protection to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait.

“Just before dinner tonight, we will have a bilateral meeting with (Kuwait’s) foreign minister, my counterpart. Afterwards, if everything’s okay, then we will push through with the signing of the MoU,” Cayetano told journalists during a whirlwind visit to Saudi Arabia Earlier, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had said the MoU would be signed on Friday, May 11. Bello said, if signed, it could pave the way for partial lifting of the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.

Cayetano said he is satisfied with Bello’s visit to Kuwait following the activation of a special unit of Kuwaiti police that the Philippine Embassy can call to look after complaints of possible abuse against Filipino workers. This came after the Kuwaiti government promised to set up a 24-hour hotline for distressed OFWs workers to call in case of emergency.

Cayetano pointed out, the OFWs will now feel they can call someone at the embassy and they act right away. Senator Joel Villanueva has comarms mended the Philippines and the Kuwaiti governments saying the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), will “ensure the protection and better labor conditions” of OFWs in Kuwait.

“We also hope that with this MoU, cases of abuses against our OFWs will be prevented and resolved in a swift and just manner,” he was quoted as saying by globalnation.inquirer.net. The signing also comes after the Philippine-Kuwait relations were soured due to a controversial rescue video involving Philippines Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa who was later declared persona non grata. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also lauded the scheduled signing of the MoU by the Philippines and Kuwait, an agreement that will protect OFWs from abuse.

“Signing of agreement is a very good development,” Pimentel said in a text message Thursday afternoon. “We should rethink the ban once the agreement is signed and all the details are in place. The only way to test if the agreement is ‘good’ is for us to ‘test’ it by sending our OFWs again to Kuwait,” he added.

Pimentel, however, appealed to the government to prioritize sending skilled workers to Kuwait, instead of household service workers (HSWs), whom he has described as “most vulnerable” to abuse. “But maybe this time we should not prioritize the sending of HSWs anymore. Send engineers, foremen, welders, etc, instead of HSWs,” he said.

Source: Agencies

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