Filipino domestic worker Joanna Demafelis was allegedly unconscious when her body was stuffed into a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait, according to police.
Demafelis’ Lebanese employer, Nader Essam Assaf, has told police in Lebanon that he put Demafelis in the freezer in his former home before she died, the Arab Times has reported.
Assaf claimed that his wife, Mona Hassoun, a Syrian national, was “addicted” to torturing the Filipina, who was 29.
The couple was arrested recently in Syria with the help of Interpol. Assaf was handed over to authorities in Lebanon, while his wife remains in police custody in her war-torn homeland.
Alan Peter Cayetano, the Philippines foreign secretary, said the arrest of the main suspects was a critical first step in bringing justice for Demafelis.
“With the two suspects now in custody, Philippine authorities will follow President Duterte’s instructions to vigorously pursue justice for Demafelis,” Cayetano said.
On Monday, the Philippine Department of Justice ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the employment agency that recruited Demafelis, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
The Filipina’s body was found in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait on February 9, a year after her family reported her missing. Assaf and Hassoun reportedly left Kuwait in late 2016 shortly after Demafelis was killed.