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Couple sentenced to death for murder of Filipina worker in Kuwait

DUBAI A Kuwaiti court sentenced a Lebanese man and his 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, local newspapers reported yesterday.

The court issued the sentence in the first hearing in the case of Ms 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, a source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month ordered workers in Kuwait to return home following the discovery of the woman's body in an abandoned home that belonged to the couple.

Lebanese media reported last month that Ms Demafelis' former employer was in custody in connection with the case and that authorities were considering a Kuwaiti request to extradite him.

AFP, quoting a judicial source, reported in February that the woman was being held in her native Syria.

Kuwait and the Philippines signed an agreement last month regulating some working conditions for 250,000 Filipinos in the Gulf Arab State. - AFP, REUTERS

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