“All our efforts have not been in vain, and we attribute this victory mainly to their fighting spirit and the collective efforts of friends, supporters and advocates.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – More than 10 years after she was sentenced to death in Kuwait, Marilou Ranario, a domestic helper, has returned to the country very much alive today, June 22.
Ranario was sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly killing her Kuwaiti employer on Jan. 11, 2005. On Dec. 9, 2007, the Kuwaiti government commuted her death sentence to life imprisonment. In 2009, the sentence was reduced to 10 years.
“We are very happy for Marilou and the Ranario family. All our efforts have not been in vain, and we attribute this victory mainly to their fighting spirit and the collective efforts of friends, supporters and advocates,” Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general, said in a statement.
Migrante, along with international organizations such as World Coalition against Death Penalty and Amnesty International had campaigned and called for her clemency.
Ranario reportedly meant to “only harm” her employer Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, who had maltreated her, and whom she overheard was plotting to sell her and have her raped.
Her family sought Migrante International’s assistance in 2006 after learning that she was sentenced to death by Kuwait’s Criminal Court of First Instance.
Her family, in a previous Bulatlat.com report, said they sought Migrante’s help when they failed to get timely and accurate updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs about her case.
Migrante then launched an international campaign that prompted then Vice President Noli de Castro to personally appeal for her life. Ranario’s case was the rallying point during the commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Oct. 10, 2007.
The group also spearheaded a “Bantay Hatol” as part of its effort to intensify the call to spare Ranario from execution.
Pillas said Ranario’s return will serve as an inspiration as they continue to save the lives of OFWs on death row like Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino on death row in Indonesia whose execution was stayed at the eleventh hour at dawn of May 29.
Apart from Ranario, another Filipina, Jakatia Pawa is also in jail and sentenced to death in Kuwait.