Killer of British diplomat in Lebanon arrested

This undated family photo released on Sunday, Dec 17, 2017 by the Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, shows Rebecca Dykes. (Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office/AP)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Killer of British diplomat in Lebanon arrested

BEIRUT: Lebanese security forces have arrested a Lebanese taxi driver for killing Rebecca Dykes, a British woman who worked at the British Embassy in Beirut and was found dead on the Metn Expressway on Saturday Morning.
The arrest was confirmed by the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) correspondent. “The Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces managed to arrest the killer. He was identified as Tarek H., a taxi driver,” said the news agency.
The agency quoted its correspondent as saying that “Tareq had picked up Dykes on Friday evening from Beirut’s Gemmayzeh district where she was on a night out. He drove her from Ashrafieh to the Metn Expressway where he attempted to rape her. He then strangled her with a rope and threw her body away.”
The NNA correspondent said that the Information Branch managed to identify and arrest the killer — who admitted to the crime — after following his car on the Traffic Management Center’s road monitoring cameras between Ashrafieh and Nahr Al-Mot area.
According to a source quoted by Reuters, “the motive was purely criminal, not political.”
Dykes had worked at the British Embassy for the Department for International Development, her LinkedIn page said.
British ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter said on Sunday: “The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news.”
Dykes’ family said in a statement issued by Britain’s Foreign Ministry: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened.”


Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

Updated 23 April 2018
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Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases
  • The two countries have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti police arrested two Filipinos for allegedly convincing housemaids to run away from their employers’ homes as the Philippines’ ambassador faced questions for comments about his embassy’s work in aiding abused workers, authorities said Sunday.
The arrests, reported by the state-run KUNA news agency, come as relations are tense between Kuwait and the Philippines, which sends many domestic laborers to the Gulf Arab emirate.
Already, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases, culminating in a February incident that saw a Filipino’s body discovered in a freezer at a Kuwait City apartment abandoned for more than a year.
KUNA said Sunday the two Filipinos acknowledged convincing the maids to leave. It wasn’t clear what law the two men were accused of breaking, though KUNA said the two “confessed to the crime in addition to other similar offenses that had been committed in various regions of the country.”
The arrests came after Kuwait summoned the Philippines ambassador over comments he made that were reported in local press about the embassy’s effort to rescue domestic workers who are abused by their employers. Ambassador Renato Villa was quoted as saying his embassy moves in to help the abused if Kuwaiti authorities fail to respond within 24 hours.
Villa’s office said he was unavailable for comment Sunday.
Duterte in January complained that cases of abuse reported by Filipino domestic workers “always” seem to be coming from Kuwait.
There have been prominent cases of abuse in the past, including an incident in December 2014 where a Kuwaiti’s pet lions fatally mauled a Filipino maid.
The Philippines banned workers entirely from Kuwait after the discovery of Joanna Demafelis’ body in a freeze in February. In late March, Lebanese officials said 40-year-old Lebanese national Nader Essam Assaf confessed to killing the woman along with his Syrian wife, who remains at large. Authorities say Assaf faces a possible death sentence.
More than 260,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many of them as housemaids. Kuwait and the Philippines have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there.
Philippine officials have demanded that housemaids be allowed to hold their passports and cellphones, which is normal for skilled workers like teachers and office workers. But many Kuwaiti employers seize their phones and passports.