Body of Filipina worker found in freezer due to arrive home from Kuwait

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Kuwait
Overseas worker Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait, setting the seal on a total ban on deployment to the Gulf state

The body of a Filipina overseas worker whose remains were discovered in a freezer in Kuwait is due to be repatriated.

Following an autopsy on Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait, the Philippine Ambassador to that country, Rene Villa, has confirmed that her body will be sent home today (Friday, February 16). Her grieving family is expected to take possession of the remains in Iloilo tomorrow morning.

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On Wednesday, the envoy went to Al-Sabah Hospital to view her remains as part of the embassy’s preparations for the repatriation.

Ambassador Villa said Kuwaiti authorities had reassured the government they were doing their best to locate and arrest the Lebanese employer of Ms Demafelis and his Syrian wife for her murder.

“I have talked to Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior and they told me that they are doing their best to arrest the couple who committed the crime,” he said.

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“Kuwait authorities were also shocked and angered by this incident and hope that Lebanon or Syria would arrest the couple.”

Ms Demafelis, found at an apartment in Al-Shaab, is believed to have been kept inside the freezer for more than a year. The Kuwaiti authorities who stumbled upon her were originally on their way to serve a court order to evict her employers.

Initial reports revealed that they had already left the country in 2016 and were also wanted for a series of cases related to bouncing cheques.

In a separate television interview, Ambassador Villa said the autopsy indicated that Ms Demafelis was beaten and tortured repeatedly. It is believed she had already been killed before her body was placed in the freezer.

The shocking discovery served as the last straw for President Duterte who earlier threatened to impose deployment ban in the Gulf state following reports of abuses and maltreatment of Filipino domestic workers.

On Monday, the Department of Labor and Employment implemented total ban on deployment to Kuwait.

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