Kuwait court sentences couple to death for killing a Filipina maid

Demafelis’ death sparked outrage in the Philippines [Photo: Reuters]
A Kuwaiti court has sentenced a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death after they were convicted in absentia of killing a Filipina maid in a case that triggered a crisis between the Philippines and the Gulf Arab state, Kuwaiti newspapers reported on Sunday.

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 returns to Kuwait, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Lebanese-Syrian couple was 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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