Blood money saves Filipino from Saudi beheading

Featured South East Asia - February 2nd, 2013
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A Filipino worker sentenced to death by beheading on murder charges in Saudi Arabia was spared after blood money was paid to the victim’s family.

Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza will be released after more than 12 years in prison following the Saudi government’s decision to pay 2.3 million riyals ($615,00) to the victim’s family, Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay told AFP.

Lanuza’s family had raised the remaining $245,000 of the blood money. Under Saudi law, acceptance of blood money signifies forgiveness from the victim’s family.

Lanuza was convicted of stabbing to death a man he said tried to sexually abuse him in 2000.

Joselito Zapanta, another Filipino death row prisoner who was convicted of killing his Sudanese landlord in 2009, is expected to be beheaded soon unless he can raise more than $800,000 in blood money. He won a four-month stay of execution in November to give his family more time to raise the amount but is still a long way from raising the required compensation, Binay said.

About 125 Filipinos were on death row abroad, most of them in China on drug convictions, says labour rights monitor Gary Martinez of Migrante International.