KSA beheads Pinoy

Activists slam Aquino’s failure to save migrant worker

Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Filipino convicted of killing one of its nationals, the interior ministry said.

Carletto Lana shot dead Saudi national Nasser al-Gahtani before running him over with a car, the SPA news agency said.

His execution was carried out in Riyadh.

Philippine Vice President Jejomar C. Binay also confirmed Lana’s beheading  and asked the  Foreign Affairs department for update on other  Filipino workers facing possible execution abroad.

According to an AFP tally, 80 foreigners and Saudis have now been executed in the country this year, despite international concerns over the number and judicial process. Lana was the sixth Filipino to be executed since  Aquino became president in 2010.

More than two-thirds of this year’s executions have been carried out over the past four months.

Rape, murder, apostasy, drug trafficking and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic sharia law.

The Vice President said based on  the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Lana was taken from his cell at around 9:30 in the morning in Saudi Arabia and executed.

 The Vice President said the Saudi government does not give advance notice to prisoners and their foreign embassies of execution dates.

Official notices are sent after the execution, he said.

 The Vice President said Lana was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by beheading or qisas. The family of his victim, a 65-year old Saudi national, did not issue an affidavit of forgiveness, which is needed under Saudi law to prevent an execution.

Lana shot his victim then tried to flee using his victim’s car and in doing so ran over the latter’s head.  An embassy report said Lana claimed that his employer was a good man and they had good relations, but he was being pressured to pray during Muslim prayer time.

Binay said based on reports from the  DFA, Lana’s lawyer tried several times but failed to convince the victim’s son to meet Lana’s mother and receive her letter asking for forgiveness.

President Aquino also wrote a letter to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz requesting the Saudi king’s intercession in convincing the heirs of the victim to enter into an amicable settlement.

Migrante International, an advocacy group for the millions of Filipinos working overseas, condemned the execution, saying that President Aquino had failed to adequately defend Lana.

“This shows migrant rights are not protected. There is not enough legal assistance given by the Aquino government to our expatriates abroad,” said Mic Catuira, spokesman of the group.

“That is why our Filipinos abroad go through these travesties,” he said, insisting that Lana had acted in self defence when he killed the Saudi man.

According to Migrante International, six Filipinos have been executed abroad since 2010. Catuira conceded that the execution took his group by surprise.

Foreign Department spokesman Charles Jose likewise said that the government was not aware that Lana was due to be executed Friday.

He said the Philippine embassy in Riyadh would assist Lana’s family in repatriating his remains. But he gave no further details.

About 10 percent of Filipinos work overseas, attracted by the higher salaries than they can earn at home. Their remittances are a major pillar supporting the country’s economy.

The welfare of Filipino overseas workers is a volatile issue at home and Manila has in the past lobbied foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia and China, to save the lives of Filipinos on death row in those countries.  With Vito Barcelo

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