A Kuwaiti court sentenced in absentia a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death by hanging over the murder of a Filipina maid, a judicial source said.
The court issued the sentence in the first hearing in the case of Joanna Demafelis, the 29-year-old maid whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait earlier this year.
The sentencing can still be appealed if the couple returns to Kuwait, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Demafelis murder triggered a diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and the Philippines, prompting Manila to impose a departure ban for its citizens planning to work in the Gulf state.
The Lebanese-Syrian couple was arrested in February in the Syrian capital Damascus following an Interpol manhunt.
Syrian authorities handed the husband, Nader Essam Assaf, over to Lebanese authorities, while his Syrian wife remained in custody in Damascus.
An estimated 252,000 Filipinos and Filipinas work in Kuwait and depend on remittances to help their families back home.
Source: Daily Star