Filipino Joselito Zapanta executed in Saudi Arabia

MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- Filipino Joselito Zapanta who was convicted for the murder of a Sudanese national over a rental dispute was executed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

“We offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones for their loss,” the DFA said in a statement.

Zapanta, 35, was convicted for killing Sudanese Imam Ibrahim, with robbery, on April 13, 2010 by the Riyadh Grand Court. He was sentenced to death by beheading after the family of the victim refused to execute an Affidavit of Forgiveness or Tanazul in exchange for blood money.

Through repeated appeals from Philippine officials, Saudi authorities have agreed to bring down to SR 4 million or Php 44 million the blood money from the initial SR 5 million or Php 55 million being demanded by Zapanta’s victim. However, not enough funds were raised to pay the diyah or blood money.

Blood money is a compensation under Shariah Law that is given to the family of murder victims. Should they accept it, the family will execute an affidavit of forgiveness so that death penalty will not be carried out on the accused.

The DFA said the Philippine government has undertaken and exhausted all diplomatic and legal efforts, and extended consular and legal assistance to preserve the life of Zapanta.

“The Philippine government provided the late Mr. Zapanta all necessary assistance and ensured that his legal rights were observed throughout the whole judicial process,” the department said, adding it arranged and funded the jail visits of the Filpino’s mother and sister to the Malaz Central Prison from November 28 to December 2, 2015, and on March 8, 2013 and November 2012.

Zapanta is survived by his father, mother, sister, and two children.

The DFA said it will continue to extend assistance to Zapanta's family.

Foreigners, including a number of Filipinos, in the past have been executed in Saudi Arabia, which has one of the harshest punishments for crimes in the world.

“We appeal to all our nationals overseas to follow the local laws of their host countries at all times and to avoid involvement in criminal activities,” the DFA said. (PNA)


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