Saudi king pardons Filipino sentenced to death

AP News
Posted: Apr 18, 2011 11:07 PM
Saudi king pardons Filipino sentenced to death

The Philippine government said Tuesday that it obtained a pardon from the king of Saudi Arabia sparing the life of a Filipino man who was sentenced to death for drug smuggling.

The man, an overseas worker in the conservative kingdom, was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to death by beheading after Saudi authorities seized a package that was mailed to him containing methamphetamine, said Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Eduardo Malaya.

The man was freed Sunday and returned to Manila late Monday. He has not been identified due to privacy concerns.

The pardoned man was the third Filipino in recent months who had been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia and released following appeals by the government in Manila.

The Philippines, which has no death penalty, unsuccessfully appealed to China last month seeking clemency for three Filipinos who were eventually executed for drug smuggling.

The plight of overseas workers is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, which has some 10 percent of its 94 million people toiling abroad to escape widespread poverty and unemployment at home.