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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Lebanese man charged with murder of Filipina maid in Kuwait

Nader Essam Assaf, 40, and his wife detained for Demafelis killing

In this February 16, 2018 photo, government officials and siblings of Joanna Demafelis look at the wooden casket of her remains at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. Bullit Marquez / AP
In this February 16, 2018 photo, government officials and siblings of Joanna Demafelis look at the wooden casket of her remains at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines. Bullit Marquez / AP

A Lebanese man was charged with murdering a Filipina maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait.

Nader Essam Assaf, 40, was charged by a south Lebanon prosecutor on Tuesday, according to the state-run National News Agency (NNA).

The report said that Assaf confessed to the killing of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose remains were found in an empty Kuwait City flat on February 6. The body was reportedly left for more than a year.

He may face a death penalty and is expected to go on trial “soon”, said the NNA.

Assaf and his Syrian wife, Mona, who is in custody in Damascus, were Demafelis’s employers in Kuwait and are both suspects in the murder case.

Earlier this month, Kuwait and the Philippines signed a deal to regulate working conditions for domestic staff in the Gulf country after the murder sparked outrage.

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Read more:

Both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina held

Murder shocks Filipinas in Kuwait, but some vow to stay

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The new agreement added that both local and foreign employers in Kuwait must ensure that their labourers would have the right to retain their passports, as well as the right to refuse transfer of their working visa to another employer.

The murder was not the first case in the region. A UN report said that more needs to be done to prevent the exploitation and abuse of domestic workers in the Middle East.

Filipino workers often leave their home country in search of higher salaries as even skilled workers like computer engineers earn at home only about 49,300 pesos (Dh3,526) a month, according to government figures.

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