International mobilisation saves the life of Filipina maid
Filipina domestic worker Marilou Ranario was sentenced to death in 2005 in Kuwait after she was found guilty of stabbing the woman who employed her. The Court of Cassation confirmed the sentence on November 27, 2007: Marilou Ranario was then at risk of imminent execution, pending the signature of an order by Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
However, when Filipina president Gloria Arroyo travelled to Kuwait and called on the Emir to commute the sentence, he agreed.
“I will reduce the penalty to life and when the other parties sign the forgiveness, I will further reduce the penalty”, he reportedly told Arroyo.
The decision follows an international campaign to save Marilou Ranario. Migrant groups started the campaign in the Philippines, organising demonstrations in support for the woman on World Day Against the Death Penalty last October.
Connie Bragas-Regalado, chairperson of Migrante International and organiser of the Save Marilou Ranario Movement, put pressure on the Philippines’ government: “The Arroyo regime has yet to fully pursue and exhaust all forms of legal and diplomatic interventions needed to save her life”, she said then.
Meanwhile, Connie Bragas-Regalado contacted the World Coalition to gather international support. Coalition member Amnesty International took up the case and launched an international appeal on behalf of Marilou Ranario, calling on citizens worldwide to write to the Kuwaitian authorities.
The campaign came to a positive conclusion on December 9.
Marilou Ranario, a young mother who travelled to Kuwait to earn a living for her family was ill-treated by her employer and suffers from paranoia, according to her lawyer.
She was one of the 35 overseas Filipino workers on death row throughout Asia and the Middle East, according to migrant organisations.