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Kuwaiti Emir saves Filipina from gallows

Kuwait’s Emir H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah yesterday decided to reduce the death penalty of convicted Filipina maid Marilou Ranario following his meeting with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other Philippine government officials.

“Normally, I don't interefere in the judicial process. We have a separate judicial system. But since you (Mrs. Arroyo) are here to personally appeal for her, I will not sign the decree of execution. That is within my power,” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye quoted the Emir as saying.

“I will reduce the penalty to life and when the other parties sign the letter of forgiveness, I will further reduce the penalty,” the Emir added.

Arroyo, for her part, thanked the Emir for his compassion. Philippine Vice-President Noli de Castro previously met the victim’s family and sought their forgiveness in the hope of paying “blood money” to spare Ranario’s life, but the overture was rejected.

On September 28, 2005, Kuwait’s Court of First Instance sentenced Ranario to death for killing her female employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, on January 11, 2005, due to maltreatment and a salary dispute.

Ranario declared in open court that she killed the victim. According to Ranario, her employer maltreated her by humiliating and insulting her in the presence of friends. She claimed that her delusional belief that her employer had evil plans for her led to the commission of the crime.

Last month, Kuwait’s Court of Cassation upheld Ranario's conviction and death sentence. Under the Kuwaiti law, only the Emir has the authority to reduce the sentence of a convicted person.

Ranario, a native of Surigao del Norte, carries a bachelor’s degree in elementary education but decided to leave for Kuwait in December 2003 to work as a domestic worker.



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