Mon, Nov 04, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Manila still hopes to save convict on Saudi death row

AFP , MANILA

The Philippines is seeking an extension to save a Filipino facing execution in Saudi Arabia as the deadline to save his life passed, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Philippine laborer Joselito Zapanta was given until yesterday to raise more than US$1 million to pay the family of his Sudanese landlord, who he killed in a rental dispute in 2009.

Manila hopes to have the payment deadline extended, department spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

“We are continuing our representations with the Saudi government to help us in extending the deadline for the payment of blood money to the family of the victim of Mr Zapanta,” Hernandez said on ABS-CBN television.

The Philippines is asking the Sudanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia to help convince the family of the murdered man to agree to the extension, he said.

Manila is also requesting that the family agree to a lower amount of “blood money,” which under Saudi law must be paid to a victim’s family before a convict can be spared, Hernandez added.

“We’ll have to try our best to be able to convince the family to extend the deadline and hopefully lower the bloody money that is being demanded,” he said.

The Philippine government has previously appealed for donations to raise the money to save Zapanta’s life, but the amount they have collected falls far short.

Zapanta was originally due to be executed in November last year, but his execution date has been pushed back several times so the money can be raised.

In February, a Filipino sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for killing a man he said tried to sexually abuse him walked free after a similar amount of money was paid to the victim’s family.

In that case, the man’s family raised the equivalent of US$245,000, while the Saudi government paid US$615,000.

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