Arroyo condemns rape of Filipina

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday strongly condemned the rape of a Filipina domestic helper in Kuwait and ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice to give all necessary assistance to the victim.

"This is one of the worst crimes of its sort committed against a hapless Filipina in a foreign land," the President said in a statement.

Arroyo said she had directed the secretaries of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Justice to work jointly and seek justice for the victim whom officials have refused to identify. The President also offered her sympathy to the victim and her family.

"I have the deepest sympathy for her and we are united with all overseas Filipinos in condemning this incident. I want regular reports on the progress of this case, including all forms of assistance rendered to the victim," Arroyo said.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople summoned Kuwaiti Consul General to the Philippines, Nayef Al Otaibi, and asked him to convey to his government the Philippines' desire that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice.

"I have already instructed Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, who has vast experience in the Middle East, to go to Kuwait to work with our embassy and Kuwaiti authorities on this matter," Ople said.

He added that they would continue to monitor the situation and constantly check the condition of the victim.

"This department will mobilise all its resources to ensure the welfare of the victim and in ensuring the criminal accountability of the perpetrators."

Ople also said that the victim is safe and has cooperated with Kuwaiti authorities. "The authorities have the suspects in custody. We will also provide the victim with every assistance, including the service of a private legal counsel and rape crisis counsellors, as she may require," he added.

According to reports, four men kidnapped the Filipina, who works as a domestic helper, and raped her in a camp in Kuwait. Five other men joined them in raping the maid.

The victim reported the rape to the authorities, who arrested the suspects after she identified them through a police lineup.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is also checking if the rape of the housemaid and the rape by three policemen of another Filipina are the same incident.

Foreign Service Officer Jojo Somera of the DFA's Office of Migrant Workers said criminal charges were filed against the police officers.

21/11/2003

Bron : Gulf News

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