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Lebanese-Syrian Couple in Demafelis Murder, Sentenced to Death

Earlier this year, the international community was shocked by the discovery of the remains of 29-year-old Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait. Today, her former employers were sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti court that tried the case in absentia.

Demafelis’ case triggered a diplomatic case between Kuwait and the Philippines, leading to a ban in the deployment of Pinoy workers to the Arab country.

The primary suspect to the case was Nader Essam Assaf, a resident of Saidon, a city in Southern Lebanon. But the suspect and his mother pinned the blame on his wife, Mona Hassoun.

Photo credit: GMA News

The suspect and his mother both claimed that it was Hassoun who abuses Demafelis on a regular basis.

After her was arrested, Assaf reportedly admitted to placing Demafelis inside the freezer when she passed out from his wife’s beatings. While it was his wife who had supposedly beaten and tortured Demafelis, Assaf’s admission meant that he also had a hand in killing the Filipina worker because he also admitted that the domestic helper was still possibly alive when he placed her inside the freezer.

Assaf and Hassoun had fled the country shortly after the murder; although they had first reported Demafelis to have supposedly run away from their home. But another Filipina working in the same apartment complex revealed that Demafelis had been constantly abused by the two; however, Demafelis was too scared to run away.

Photo credit: PhilNews

The couple had been arrested last month, with Kuwaiti authorities working on getting them both extradited but the cases filed against them tried in absentia.

The two were sentenced to death by hanging but could still appeal the case once they get extradited to Kuwait. As of press time, Assaf is still jailed in Lebanon while Hassoun is in Syria.


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