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OFW Severely Beaten on Death Row in Saudi Arabia

On May 23, 2010

Migrante-Middle East, a rights group representing Overseas Filippino Workers (OFWs) has called for an investigation following reports that a Philippine national was severely beaten on death row in a jail in Riyadh.

According to this article in The Enquirer:

Migrante-Middle East (ME) said the family of Joselito Zapanta had sought help from their Manila office after learning that Zapanta had experienced “heavy beating” at the Malaz central jail.

“Zapanta’s family requested for his protection. They said he could hardly eat because of the heavy blows he sustained,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator based in Riyadh, said in a statement.

Monterona said the family had no information on who had beaten Zapanta.

“It could have been a fellow prisoner,” he said, adding that their group had yet to independently verify the report.

“He (Zapanta) used to call me from his cell. I have been calling his mobile phone since yesterday (Saturday), but there was no answer. In one instance, someone answered. When I asked to speak with Joselito, the line was cut,” Monterona said.

Zapanta is in prison for killing his Sudanese landlord, who reportedly beat him brutally after he did not hand over his rent because his wages were late. According to a statement from Migrante, he fought back and accidentally killed the landlord. He has been in jail since June 2009