On Thursday, the Lebanese man tagged as the primary suspect in the torture and murder of Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait had been caught in Lebanon.
Kuwaiti authorities are now trying to get Nader Essam Assaf extradited to Kuwait so he can face his charges there but Philippine officials and citizens hoped his wife, Syrian national Mona Hassoun would also get arrested.
Late Saturday evening, Manila time, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that Hassoun has been arrested in Syria, reported ABS-CBN News. Just like her husband, she would be extradited to Kuwait to face the charges.
Details of Hassoun’s arrest as well as that of Assaf have not been released yet but both news were welcomed by Filipinos who are hoping for swift justice.
If proven guilty of torturing and killing their former house maid, the two will most likely be sentenced to death by hanging.
In previous reports, Assaf’s mother alleged that her son is innocent of the torture and murder charges. She claimed that it was her daughter-in-law who had been abusing the 29-year-old Filipina domestic helper.
According to the older woman, she had visited the couple at their house in Kuwait. She told local media that witnessed how her daughter-in-law grabbed the maid’s hair and slammed her head on the wall.
While the older woman’s claim was also worth noting, this does not absolve Assaf of the murder charges as it is also possible he actually had a hand in Demafelis’ death.
The Filipino community has been deeply saddened and angered by Demafelis’ death, especially because the domestic helper had been abused for months then tortured before she died. There were also indications that she was still alive when she was placed in the freezer, especially because her body appeared to be curled up in a manner that people do when they are feeling cold.
Now that the suspects have been arrested, we are hoping justice will be served swiftly so that Demafelis could finally rest in peace.
[Editor’s Note: Developing story. More details to follow.]