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Monday, April 18, 2011

Saudi pardons, frees Pinoy drug mule


The Department of Foreign Affairs said today that an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was earlier sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia was granted pardon and freed Sunday.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh reported that the repatriation of the freed OFW has been arranged and he is due to arrive in Manila today.

The Embassy is not releasing his name, in deference to the request of his family for privacy. The OFW was sentenced to death by beheading in November 2009 by a tribunal of three judges for involvement in smuggling illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2008, he was apprehended by Saudi law enforcement agents after receiving a postal package with shabu hidden inside. Smuggling and selling of illegal drugs in Suadi is punishable by death.

Through the help of the Philippine post in Riyadh, two members of the tribunal reduced the penalty from death to 15 years imprisonment, 1500 lashes and a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals.

The Embassy included the OFW’s name in the list submitted to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud for the grant of Royal Clemency.

The Embassy’s efforts were favorably acted upon, and the prisoner was released after serving three years in detention.

Upon release, he tearfully thanked the Embassy for its relentless efforts for his freedom, while expressing gratitude to Charge d’Affaires (CDA) Ezzedin H. Tago.

His release is testament to the hard work and tireless dedication of the men and women of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh in safeguarding the welfare of every Filipino in Saudi Arabia,” CDA Tago said.

The OFW is the third Filipino sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia whose freedom was successfully secured by the Embassy -- Michael Roque was released from prison in February 2011, while Nonito Abono was released in November 2010.


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