2nd suspect in death of Demafelis now under Syrian custody

/ 11:48 PM February 24, 2018
Joanna Demafellis

Jessica (center)), sister of Filipina worker Joanna Demafelis whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait, cries in front of a wooden casket containing her sisterm’s body shortly after its arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Feb. 16, 2018, while another sibling Jojit (left, in yellow shirt) and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (second, right) look on. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)

The second suspect in the murder of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis is now under the custody of Syrian authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Saturday night.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano said Mona Hassoun, the wife of Demafelis’ employer Nader Essam Assaf, had been arrested and was in the custody of Syrian authorities.


“We have just been informed by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait that Mona Hassoun, wife of Nader Essam Assaf, who are the principal suspects in the murder of Joanna Demafelis, is now in custody of authorities in Damascus,” Cayetano said in a statement Saturday night.

According to a report from Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa, Cayetano said Hassoun was apparently arrested with her husband in Syria on Feb. 22, but Assaf was turned over to Beirut since he was a Lebanese national.


The couple was arrested for the death of Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait earlier this month.

Demafelis has been missing since Assaf and Hassoun left Kuwait more than a year ago.

The two were taken into custody after Kuwaiti authorities requested the assistance of Interpol in locating and arresting them.

Demafelis’s body bore signs of torture and President Rodrigo Duterte has made her case an example of the numerous cases of abuse and maltreatment suffered by Filipino workers in Kuwait.

After Duterte ordered a deployment ban, the Philippines stopped from leaving hundreds of OFWs who were set to work in Kuwait for the first time. /atm

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TAGS: abused OFWS, Joanna Demafelis, Kuwait abuses of OFWs, Mona Hassoum, Nader Essam Assaf
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