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Activists slam Philippine govt for not halting Saudi beheading

MANILA: Activists slammed the Philippine government Saturday for not doing more to save a Filipino who was beheaded for murder in Saudi Arabia.

Carletto Lana was executed in Riyadh on Friday for shooting a Saudi national before running him over with a car, the SPA news agency said.

Migrante International, an advocacy group for the millions of Filipinos working overseas, condemned the execution, saying the government of President Benigno Aquino had failed to adequately defend Lana.

“This shows migrant rights are not protected. There is not enough legal assistance given by the Aquino government to our expatriates abroad,” said Mic Catuira, spokesman of the group.

“That is why our Filipinos abroad go through these travesties,” he said, insisting that Lana had acted in self defence when he killed the Saudi man.

According to Migrante International, six Filipinos have been executed abroad since 2010.

Catuira conceded that the execution took his group by surprise.

Foreign Department spokesman Charles Jose likewise said that the government was not aware that Lana was due to be executed Friday.

He said the Philippine embassy in Riyadh would assist Lana’s family in repatriating his remains. But he gave no further details.

About 10 percent of Filipinos work overseas, attracted by the higher salaries than they can earn at home. Their remittances are a major pillar supporting the country’s economy.

The welfare of Filipino overseas workers is a volatile issue at home and Manila has in the past lobbied foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia and China, to save the lives of Filipinos on death row in those countries. -AFP

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