'This is my second life': Justice served for Pinay raped, left for dead in Kuwait 8 years ago

Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2020 07:22 PM

KUWAIT CITY - A Filipina's long quest for justice has reached the ending she hoped for after a court here sentenced a Kuwaiti Traffic Police officer to life in prison for raping, stabbing and leaving her for dead in the desert in South Surra 8 years ago.

Marissa, 35, flew back to the Philippines on Nov. 29. The native of T’Boli, South Cotabato was among the over 300 overseas Filipino workers who boarded a Kuwaiti Airways chartered flight early this week.

“I’m filled with mixed emotions. I can’t explain what I feel right now. I’m filled with happiness and at the same time nostalgic, looking back (at) the eight long years of fighting for justice. Finally, justice is served,” said Marissa in Filipino in an interview with ABS-CBN Middle East Bureau as she checked in at the airline counter.

The Kuwait Court of First Instance sentenced the traffic policeman to death in June 2014 after he was convicted of raping Marissa and trying to kill her by stabbing her several times on Oct. 1, 2012.

But the policeman’s legal counsel appealed to the Court of Appeals and the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Sheikha Fawzia Salem Al-Sabah, who visited Marissa at the hospital, volunteered to be her legal counsel pro bono, after learning about her case in the media.

Marissa thanked the lawyer and "all those who helped me in this fight for justice," including Philippine Embassy and labor officers in Kuwait.

Sheikha Fawzia wished Marissa well as she starts a new life with the civil compensation she received from her case.

“I wish you good life, forget what had happened before. I wish you peace of mind and happiness,” said Sheikha Fawzia during their last meeting at the law office prior to the OFW’s departure.

Marissa flew to Kuwait on September 12, 2006 to work as a household service worker for three years, and later on at a dress shop in Farwaniya.

Based on her account, in the late evening of September 30, she and her female friend came out from a mall along the Sixth Ring road. They were inside a cab on their way home to Farwaniya when they were stopped by a policeman.

Unfortunately, her residence visa just expired four days earlier and was still being renewed by her new sponsor. The policeman let her friend, who had a valid visa, go while she was taken by the suspect to a police car.

Instead of taking her to the police station, he drove her to a dark deserted place in South Surra where he raped her inside the police patrol car and stabbed her with a Swiss knife on the neck and back, leaving her almost dead.

Marissa managed to crawl by the roadside where a passing car found her and took her to the Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital.

“It was a tough fight but what kept me strong was my faith in God. There were times I felt like giving up but I prayed more for God to give me enough strength to go on," she said.

"This is my second life. I would have been dead at the desert at that time but thank God, I’m alive. It may have been a tough and lonely fight but it was all worth it."

"We have to stand up for our rights. To all the women who have been raped and are victims of various forms of abuses, we should not be afraid to speak up and fight,” she said.

Marissa, who was seen off at the airport by the Philippine embassy team, said she looks forward to spending Christmas with her 14-year old son and family in the Philippines.

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