Lawyer denied from talking to Pinay rape victim

By Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Nov 22 2012 12:48 PM | Updated as of Nov 22 2012 08:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A prominent Kuwaiti human rights lawyer who volunteered to represent a Filipina rape victim has claimed that the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait prevented them from speaking to the Pinay.

Sheikha Fawzia al-Sabah was dismayed after the embassy did not allow them to talk to “Marissa” (not her real name), the Filipina raped and left for dead by a Kuwait traffic police officer in the desert of South Surra last October 1.

Sheikha Fawzia, who spoke in Arabic, said Marissa was brought to the Philippine embassy when she was discharged from the hospital.

“We assign a lawyer from my office that went to the Philippine Embassy, sad to say, the Philippine embassy refused our lawyer to see Marissa,” Sheikha Fawzia said.

The lawyer volunteered, pro bono, to represent Marissa in her case while she was still recuperating in the hospital. However, since the time she returned to the embassy, they could not meet up with her to make the necessary arrangements regarding her case.

According to Marissa, the embassy asked her to sign a special power of attorney (SPA) written in Arabic designating lawyer Ayed al-Subaie as her legal counsel. The lawyer was recommended by the embassy but the victim expressed her wish to be represented by Sheikha Fawzia.

“Nanawagan ako kay sir [Ibrahim] Jack Tanandato at Ambassador [Shulan] Primavera na sana respetuhin naman nila iyong desisyon ko,” said the victim.

ABS-CBN Middle East tried to get the side of the embassy but Tanandato, the head of the Assistance to Nationals unit, declined to be interviewed on camera. He earlier denied Marissa’s claim that she was forced to sign the SPA.

Sheikha Fawzia is still hopeful that the embassy will soon allow them to talk to Marissa.

“I call upon all Filipinos to help and pray for Marissa,” she said.