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Demafelis employer found guilty of murder



A Syrian criminal court has found one of the accused in the gruesome killing of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis guilty of murder, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Reports from the DFA identified the convicted as Syrian Mouna Ali Hassoun. The other suspect, Hassoun’s Lebanese husband Nader Essam Assaf, is also facing murder charges in Lebanon.

In a brief statement posted on its social media account, the DFA vowed to extend legal assistance to the family of the victim “until justice is served.”

It is not clear what penalty was given to the Syrian national and whether or not the conviction was final and executory.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. hinted in a tweet that Hassoun was meted with the death penalty.

“There you go. Judge didn’t buy the defense: “That wasn’t from Costco? That was our domestic helper? Fancy that. We were wondering why she hadn’t shopped for some time; for that matter we hadn’t seen her in a while. When we looked in the freezer it was full.” Death penalty,” Locsin said in a Twitter post yesterday.

Demafelis was found frozen inside the abandoned apartment of Hassoun and her husband in Al-Shaab, Kuwait last year. They were arrested separately in February of that year. Hassoun is detained in Syria while her husband is under detention in Lebanon.

In March 2018, the husband and wife employers of Demafelis were tried in absentia by a Kuwaiti court and were initially sentenced with death by hanging.

Autopsy showed Demafelis was beaten and tortured repeatedly, and that before she was stored in a freezer, she was already dead.

The discovery of her body, believed to have been kept inside the freezer for more than a year, sparked outrage in the country and led to the previous deployment ban of new Filipino workers to Kuwait. (Roy Mabasa)