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Death Row Man Goes Home Alive

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By Edgar C. Cadano

 

The Saudi Gazette

 

RIYADH

 

A FILIPINO worker sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after killing a Nepalese was freed and flown to Manila on Wednesday after his sentence was reversed with the help of the Philippine embassy,

 

Charge d Affaires Mariano Dumla said.

 

Primo Gasmen was originally scheduled to be flown to Manila on Monday by the Saudi Arabian Airlines but authorities were able to book him for a Wednesday flight by Philippine Airlines. He will be in Manila at 2:50 P.M. Philippine time (9:30 A.M. Saudi time).

 

Gasmen, a production supervisor in a private company since 1995, was found guilty of killing Khim Bahadur Gurung in a fight on Christmas Eve in 1998, the Philippine embassy said. It was not immediately known why they fought.

 

The Philippine tabloid, People s Tonight, initiated a fund-raising campaign with the support of some private organizations to help pay the blood money.

 

Lawyers from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila went to Nepal to negotiate with the victim s family for the settlement of the case on behalf of Gasmen.

 

The Gurung family agreed to accept the blood money and issued a document called affidavit of forgiveness, which the legal team presented to the Riyadh Grand Court.

 

On December 8 last year, the court ordered a decision releasing Gasmen after the victim s mother and uncle appeared personally in court to confirm that the document was gunuine.

 

Gasmen converted to Islam during his five-year incarceration. He was imprisoned in Malaz jail since January 17, 2000.

 

The Philippine embassy helped facilitate Gasmen s release and return to Manila on Wednesday. At least 10 other Filipinos are facing the death penalty in the Saudi capital.

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