Around 190 Filipino workers from Kuwait arrive at the airport in Manila on Feb 23 following President Duterte's call for workers to be evacuated after a Filipina was found dead in a freezer. Photo: Reuters/ Romeo Ranoco

Lebanese prosecutors have reportedly charged a local man with murdering a Filipino maid over a notorious murder in Kuwait.

Nader Essam Assaf, 40, allegedly confessed to the murder of Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait in early February.

The murder is believed to have occurred in late 2016, with Assaf and his Syrian wife fleeing the country shortly after and the maid’s body left for more than a year in a freezer at an apartment where she worked in Salmiya.

The killing became a high-profile case as it coincided with a ban on Filipinos being sent to work in Kuwait by the Duterte government in Manila because of the high incidence of abuse, sexual harassment and a series of deaths there.

Assaf and his Syrian wife Mona Hassoun, who is still at large, were suspects in the killing of Demafelis, 29, whose body had stab wounds on her neck and injuries that suggested she was tortured.

The National News Agency in Lebanon said Assaf is expected to go on trial soon. He faces a possible death sentence.

Officers from Interpol were reportedly involved in the arrest of Assaf in Syria last month prior to him being sent back to his homeland.

Officials from Kuwait and the Philippines have been negotiating a new labor pact to ensure that Filipinos are properly protected. More than a quarter of a million Filipinos work in the small Gulf State.

Read: Filipino maid’s body found in freezer in Kuwait flat 

Read: Maid was ‘unconscious before being stuffed into freezer’

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