Kuwaiti court sentences couple to death for Filipina's murder
April 01 2018 01:26 PM
Lebanon 'detains suspect' in Joanna Demafelis' murder
Jessica (second right), sister of Filipina overseas worker Joanna Demafelis, cries in front of a wooden casket containing her sister’s body after it arrived in Manila earlier this year.

AFP/Kuwait City

A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced in absentia a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death by hanging over the murder of a Filipina maid, a judicial source said.
The court issued the sentence in the first hearing in the case of Joanna Demafelis, the 29-year-old maid whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait earlier this year. 
The sentencing can still be appealed if the couple return to Kuwait, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. 
The Demafelis murder triggered a diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and the Philippines, prompting Manila to impose a departure ban for its citizens planning to work in the Gulf state.
The Lebanese-Syrian couple were arrested 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 remained in custody in Damascus. 
An estimated 252,000 Filipinos and Filipinas work in Kuwait and depend on remittances to help their families back home. 

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