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Expat facing execution in Saudi Arabia gets more time to raise blood money

Family of man facing execution in Saudi Arabia given four months to raise blood money

Gulf News

Manila: The family of an overseas Filipino worker has been given four more months to raise blood money, the amount of which could be lowered from an initial demand of 55 million pesos (Dh4.58 million), to atone for the 2009 killing of a Sudanese accountant who worked for a construction firm in Saudi Arabia.

The family of the Sudanese victim has also agreed to lower the amount of blood money and given the mother and daughter of Joselito Zapanta four more months to raise it, Vice-President Jejomar Binay said in a radio interview with DZBB.

Zapanta was initially scheduled for execution on November 14, which was then extended to December 14 to give him and his family one more month to pay the blood money. The family now has four more months from December 14.

The letter of Philippine President Benigno Aquino that asked for more time for the Zapanta family to pay the blood money reached Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz last month.

“Our Ambassador Ezz Al Deen Tago in Saudi Arabia worked hard for this,” Binay said, adding he learned about this positive development on Wednesday.

Zapanta’s mother and sister went to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night, bringing with them the 4.39 million pesos (Dh365,833) that they had raised as initial payment of blood money to the Sudanese family, Manila’s foreign affairs department spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

They also brought with them Vice-President Binay’s letter, addressed to the authorities in Saudi Arabia, for the extension of payment of blood money to the aggrieved Sudanese family, said Hernandez.

The Undersecretary for Migrant and Workers Affairs (of the foreign affairs department) accompanied Zapanta’s mother and sister in Saudi Arabia, Hernandez said, adding that Sudanese embassy officials in Riyadh and representatives of the Saudi king also interceded on Zapanta’s behalf.

“Let us pray for our compatriot Joselito Zapanta for the extension of his life,” Vice-President Binay said.

In 2009, Zapanta was arrested for the killing of Saleh Imam Ebrahim with a hammer over rent payment.