Following the capture of one of the two principal suspects, Nader Essam Assaf, in the brutal murder of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday, February 24, announced the arrest of the other suspect and partner of Assaf, Mona Hassoun, in Syria. The couple will be extradited to Kuwait to stand trial.
the DFA was quoted saying:
“Secretary (Alan Peter) Cayetano, at the same time, assured that with the two suspects now in custody, the DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment will follow President Duterte’s instructions to vigorously pursue justice for Demafelis.”
The statement continued:
“The couple were arrested in Damascus. They were the subject of an Interpol red notice and the Syrian authorities handed the husband over to Lebanese custody on Friday morning.”
Details about the arrest of Hassoun haven’t been released by the authorities, though the Filipino community hopes for swift justice to be served for the Filipina domestic helper’s family. Reports also said that the suspects are more likely to face death penalty by hanging.
However, Assaf’s mother claimed that her son is innocent and that her daughter-in-law was the one who was torturing Joanna Demafelis. She detailed that she once visited Assaf and Mona’s residence and saw how the latter abused the 29-year-old worker by pulling her hair and slamming her head against the wall.
The old woman’s statement may be true, but Assaf will still face trial in spite of his mother’s claims for contributing to Joanna’s passing.
There are reportedly 250,000 OFWs in Kuwait, and most of them are domestic helpers. Joanna’s case is among the several reported deaths of OFWs which prompted the Philippine government to ban deployment of workers to Kuwait.
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