Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

Boss arrested over Filipino maid’s death


MANILA: One of two suspects in the death of a Filipino maid whose body was found in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait has been arrested in Lebanon, the Philippine­s foreign secretary said on Friday.

Alan Peter Cayetano said he had told Philippine­s president Rodrigo Duterte about the arrest of Lebanese Nader Essam Assaf but added that Assaf ’s Syrian wife, who is also a suspect in the death of Joanna Demafelis, remains at large.

The discovery of Demafelis’s body on February 6 in a freezer in Kuwait City, where it had reportedly been kept for more than a year, prompted outrage in the Philippine­s and refocused attention on the plight of poor Filipinos toiling mostly as maids abroad.

It prompted Duterte to ban the deployment of new Filipino workers to Kuwait, where many abuses have been reported.

Duterte and other officials have asked Kuwaiti authoritie­s to hunt for the couple.

“Assaf’s arrest is a critical first step in our quest for justice for Joanna and we are thankful to our friends in Kuwait and Lebanon for their assistance,” Cayetano said in a statement, adding that he expected Kuwait would seek Assaf ’s extraditio­n.

After attending Demafelis’s wake on Thursday in her home town of Sara in the central Philippine­s, Duterte told reporters the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait would continue and could be expanded to other countries. – AP/African News Agency (ANA)

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