Kuwait. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Kuwait. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Lebanese man and his Syrian wife have been sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti court for the murder of a Filipino domestic worker in a case they sent shockwaves across the world.

On Sunday, Nader Essam Assaf and his wife Mona were sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, a Filipino domestic worker whose body was found in a freezer earlier this year, The National reported.

Under Kuwaiti law, the couple can appeal their sentences if they return to Kuwait. Assaf is now in custody in Lebanon, while his wife is being held in Damascus.

Philippine labor secretary Silvestre Bello III welcomed the conviction of the former employers of Demafelis and said the sentence showed the sincerity and good faith of the Kuwaiti government in giving justice to the victim, the Manila Bulletin reported.

“This is a case of a sweet and swift justice and we do appreciate the effort of the Kuwaiti government,” Bello said.

In February, police in Kuwait were ordered to evict the tenants in an apartment where they then found the body of Demafelis stuffed in a freezer. It was discovered that Demafelis died in 2016.

Her death prompted Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to order the repatriation of all Filipino workers in Kuwait. Amid allegations of widespread abuse of Filipino expatriates, Duterte also banned Filipinos from applying for work visas in Kuwait.

In March, the Philippine and Kuwait governments signed an agreement to ensure the protection and safety of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait.

Read: Lebanese boss could face death term for killing Filipina maid