Kuwait officials take action on OFW death

Published February 16, 2018, 11:03 AM

by iManila Developer

By Roy Mabasa

Kuwaiti authorities assured the Philippine government that they will do everything to find those responsible for the death of the Filipino household service worker found inside a freezer earlier this month and bring them back to Kuwait so they could face justice.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa looks at the remains of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis at the Al-Sabah Hospital in Kuwait. (Department of Foreign Affairs / MANILA BULLETIN)
Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa looks at the remains of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis at the Al-Sabah Hospital in Kuwait. (Department of Foreign Affairs / MANILA BULLETIN)

The assurance was made by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the meetings with Philippine Ambassador Rene Villa at the Al-Sabah Hospital where the latter witnessed the sealing of the casket containing the remains of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported.

“Kuwaiti authorities want to let us know that they, too, were shocked, outraged, and saddened by Joanne’s murder and that they will make sure justice is served,” the DFA quoted Ambassador Villa as saying.

The frozen remains of the 29-year old domestic worker from Sara, Iloilo, were discovered last week by authorities inside a freezer at an apartment that had been abandoned by its tenants for more than a year.

Citing autopsy report, Ambassador Villa said Demafelis suffered several broken ribs and contusion and trauma in the pelvis and kidney area. She also hadinternal bleeding. At the same time, several wounds were also found on Demafelis’ body.

Furthermore, the autopsy showed that Demafelis was already dead when she was put inside the freezer.

Based on initial investigation, the body of Demafelis was kept in a freezer for more than a year and was only discovered when police entered the apartment in Maidan Hawally after a court order was issued for the owner of the residence to vacate the premises as part of the procedures to re-possess.

The apartment has been vacant since November 2016 when its tenants, a Lebanese and his Syrian wife, left Kuwait. The door remained locked ever since.

The suspects were identified as Lebanese Nader Issam Assaf and his Syrian wife Mona Hassoun, as employers of Demafelis.

Officers tasked to investigate the case disclosed that Assaf and Hassoun are in Syria.

According to reports, the couple and their two children left Kuwait in November 2016, while the body of Demafelis was discovered recently when the owner of the apartment obtained permission from the court to enter the apartment.

Apparently, the Lebanese national was wanted by Kuwaiti authorities in connection with several legal cases and with a court ruling of 14 days in jail.

Assaf was supposedly the sponsor of Dimapilis and that he was the one who reported her missing two days before he and his wife left Kuwait.

According to the diplomat, Kuwaiti authorities said they are working closely with Interpol to locate Demafelis’ Lebanese employer and his Syrian wife who are the principal suspects in the murder. The two are believed to be either in Lebanon or Syria.

The DFA said Demafelis’ remains will be repatriated at 3 pm on board a Gulf Air flight via Manama and arrive in Manila at 11:15 am on Friday. The remains will be transferred to a Philippine Airlines flight that will arrive in Iloilo at 5:30 am on Saturday.

 
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