Sheikha Fawzia
Philippine Embassy slammed over ‘access’ to rape victim

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 7: Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Sheikha Fawzia Salem Al-Sabah criticised the Philippine Embassy on Wednesday for not allowing her to see the Filipina who was allegedly raped and stabbed several times on the neck by a Kuwaiti Traffic Police on Oct 1 at the desert in South Surra and was left almost dead along the highway.

Sheikha Fawzia told the Arab Times that she visited Marissa, not her real name, at the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospi-tal last month before she was discharged from the hospital and volunteered to be her lawyer pro bono, which Marissa accepted gladly.

“She told me, I want you to be my lawyer, but since the time she was discharged from the hospital and returned to the embassy, we could not meet up with her to make the necessary arrangements. We truly look forward to helping Marissa especially with the crime committed against her,” pointed out Sheikha Fawzia.

Marissa, 27, a native of T’Boli South Cotabato was deployed to Kuwait on Sept 12, 2006 to work as a Household Service Worker for three years and later on at a dress shop in Farwaniya. Based on her account, on the late evening of Sept 30, she and her female friend came out from a mall along the sixth ring road. They were inside a cab on their way home to Farwaniya when they were stopped by the suspect who alighted from a police car. Unfortunately, her residence visa had expired four days ago and it was still being renewed by her new sponsor. The suspect let her friend go as she still had a valid visa while she was taken by the suspect to the police car. The suspect instead of taking her to the police station, drove her to a dark deserted place in South Surra where he allegedly raped her inside the police patrol car and stabbed her with a Swiss knife on the neck and back.

Sheikha Fawzia disclosed to the Arab Times that after Marissa was discharged from the hospital, she assigned a lawyer from her office to go to the embassy to see her. He went to the embassy a number of times. “The Philippine Embassy did not allow our lawyer to see Marissa. I feel sorry for Marissa that’s why I really want to help her,” she stated.

Sheikha Fawzia outlined that such heinous crimes could take up to three years in Kuwait Court. “Marissa is now in a basement of the Philippine Embassy. Is she going to stay in the basement without work and valid residence for three years? For sure this is impossible. Who is going to sponsor all the expenses of Marissa for three years or more?,” she lamented.

Marissa who is now staying temporarily at the Filipino Workers Resource Centre (FWRC) at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Faiha confirmed to the Arab Times that she earlier met Sheikha Fawzia at the hospital and she wanted her to be her lawyer. “As what I’ve said before, I want Sheikha Fawzia to be my lawyer, although the embassy referred me to a male lawyer, Attorney Ayed Al-Subaie. I prefer Sheikha Fawzia because she’s a lady and I’m more comfortable with her. She’s competent and I’m confident that she will fight for my case,” she stressed.

She narrated that after she was discharged from the hospital, Atty Ayed came to see her at the FWRC but she did not go with him because she only wants Sheikha Fawzia to be her lawyer. “But one day, the embassy translator Mr. Muamar picked me up from the centre so I went with him but when we reached the Ministry of Justice, I saw Atty Ayed there. Then they asked me to sign an Arabic document. I was still in a state of trauma and confused, I signed it and I found out later that the paper is the special power of attorney assigning Atty Ayed as my lawyer,” she lamented.

She recounted that after that, she went to see Assistance to Nationals Unit Head Dalidig Ibrahim Tanandato to reiterate her request for Sheikha Fawzia to be her lawyer, however, Tanandato told her that he has already sent a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila assigning Atty. Ayed Al-Subaie to be her lawyer based on the special power of attorney that she signed. “I explained to him that I did not know what I signed,” narrated Marissa.

In an earlier interview with the Arab Times, Tanandato explained that he already sent the recommendation for Atty Ayed and he cannot retract that and send another recommendation for another lawyer. Moreover, he added that they did not force Marissa to sign the special power of attorney.

Meanwhile, Marissa stated that during her meeting with Tanandato, Philippine Ambassador Shulan Primavera happened to drop by the ATNU Office and she requested the Ambassador to make Sheikha Fawzia as her lawyer. “But the Ambassador told me that since Atty Ayed was already assigned to my case and if I really want a female to accompany me in court, he suggested that they will just send a female embassy staff with me every time there’s a court hearing,” she recounted. She added that the Ambassador also advised her that changing to another lawyer might affect her case negatively.

“I’m appealing to Ambassador Shulan Primavera and Sir Jack Tanandato to please listen to me. I don’t want any lawyer except Sheikha Fawzia,” stressed Marissa.

Meanwhile, Marissa’s case has gone viral on the Internet and OFWs across the globe have expressed their support on her fight for justice. “I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me. Thank you for all your support. I will continue with my fight until justice is served,” she stated.

The Arab Times tried to reach the ATNU for an update on the case of Marissa but Tanandato was unreachable for comment.

On the other hand, Sheikha Fawzia is bent on helping Marissa and urged the Philippine embassy to let her see her. “I call upon all Filipinos to help and pray for Marissa,” she stated.

By: Michelle Fe Santiago Special to the Arab Times

Read By: 20163
Comments: 1

listen to herrobert littlewood | 11/8/2012 4:54:44 PM hasnt this girl gone throu enough stress without being bullied into using a male laywer she is a victim of rape and want's a female lawyer but once again TANANDATO forces her to use a male lawyer what is wrong with this man does he have no compassion or is it that he can control the lawyer that he supplies,TANANDATO you want to start listening to your people this girl doesnt want your puppet she wants shiekha as her lawyer.and to make her sign power of attorney is a disgrace she might not of been in a fit state when she signed it but she is now so listen to her she doesnt want your lawyer she wants her own but you dont listen as normal you are a disgrace to your countrys people who you work for,your embassy bang on about housemaids rights and how your stopping it and you and the embassador bully this poor should both be sacked,your not interested in this girl just how it will look for you when it goes to court whats the matter you frietened that you cant control shiekha and she says something you dont agree with stop the BULLYING OF THIS GIRL TANANDATO give her the lawyer she are employed by your country to serve her not the other way around
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