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Just In: Nepali Death-Row Maid Spared in Kuwait

On December 24, 2008

The life of a Nepali maid on death row in Kuwait has been spared after a court ruling on December 23rd commuted her sentence. Dolma Sherpa was handed the death penalty in Kuwait last year for allegedly murdering her Filipinna room-mate while their employer was away on the Haj pilgrimage. (You can read more about the case here)

The 29-year old mother-of-3 had gone to Kuwait in order to work to support her family in Nepal, while her husband Ang Tenzi Sherpa worked as a cook at an American military base in Iraq.

When Dolma's husband heard about her death sentence, he returned to Nepal immediately to raise the alarm. A major civil society campaign, spearheaded by the Nepal-Americas Council (an association made up of about 30 different groups organised by Nepalis working in the US and Canada) raised enough money for Dolma's legal representation and mounted a letter-writing campaign targetting the Kuwaiti government, Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington D.C and Condoleeza Rice.

Yesterday's ruling is great news and it is impressive to see a trans-national campaign putting pressure on the Kuwaiti authorities and succeeding. It is likely that Dolma will now be extradited to Nepal which does not practice the death penalty.

However, there are still around 30 Nepali maids languishing in Kuwaiti jails, many with children.

Many thanks to my source in Kathmandu for the update...