OFW in Saudi death row a step closer to release

Judged and the victim's family in Saudi Arabia sign documents that will secure the release of Filipino Dondon Lanuza

RELEASE SOON. Filipino Dondon Lanuza is one step closer to release after the signing of court documents or the affidavit of forgiveness with the notation that the victim's family signified forgiveness. File photo from Migrante International's website

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia due to murder is one step closer to freedom.

The Foreign Affairs Department confirmed the signing of the court decision that will help secure the release of Filipino Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza. The aggrieved family and judges in Saudi Arabia signed the document.

In a text message, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Raul Hernandez said Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Ezzedin Tago informed the Department about the signing of the document.

The court decision comes with the notation that the blood money for Lanuza was received and the victim’s family “signified its forgiveness.”

“The next procedure is for the court to transmit the file to the Office of the Emir. Then, the office of the Emir will decide if it will issue the order for release or seek confirmation from the Ministry of Interior,” said Hernandez.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers affairs, also confirmed the report.  

“I learned from Ambassador Tago that Lanuza’s case file will no longer be sent to the Court of Appeals and will be forwarded to the Emir’s office once the judge in charge signs the endorsement,” Binay said in a statement Thursday.

Lanuza was jailed in Saudi Arabia for killing a Saudi national in 2000. He claimed he acted in self-defense after the victim allegedly tried to sexually abuse him.

Saudi’s highest court affirmed his death penalty in 2001 but Lanuza was pardoned after the family asked for blood money.

The Saudi government shouldered 2.3-M Saudi riyal in blood money (about P24.9-M) because Lanuza’s family, the Philippine government and private groups and individuals were only able to raise 7000,000 Saudi riyal or P7.5-M in February. – Rappler.com 

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