Primary Suspect to Demafelis Murder Arrested in Lebanon, Wife Still at Large

The Filipino community has been calling for the swift arrest of the suspects to the murder of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis who was found inside a freezer at the abandoned apartment in Kuwait where she had been working for a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife.

It is widely assumed that Nader Essam Assaf and/or Mona Hassoun had a hand in her torture and subsequent death; although it is still unknown whether the two acted together or if it was only one of them who physically abused the domestic worker, killed her, and hid her in the freezer.

Photo credit: PhilNews

But the two had long been gone from Kuwait, with reports that they had been hiding from authorities due to the man facing charges for check fraud. It is believed that they are hiding somewhere in Syria or Lebanon.

On Thursday, coincidentally falling on the same day that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wake of the slain domestic worker at her hometown in Sara, Iloilo, Assaf had been arrested in Lebanon.

His wife remains at large but Assaf’s arrest was certainly a major development in the case.

The President welcomes the news that Nader Essam Assaf is now in the hands of authorities in Lebanon. Assaf’s arrest is a critical first step in our quest for justice for Joanna and we are thankful to our friends in Kuwait and Lebanon for their assistance,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano.

Photo credit: Arab News Online

Kuwaiti Ambassador Mousaed Al-Thwaikh assured Cayetano that INTERPOL Kuwait isn’t the only agency willing to help in the case; Kuwaiti authorities will do their best to extradite the suspect so he can face the charges in Kuwait.

Earlier, Kuwaiti authorities had sought the help of INTERPOL to locate the suspects. Everyone feels hopeful that Hassoun would also be arrested soon.