Vigil to save life of Jennifer Dalquez from death row

5th April 2017 - by Fr Denis Carter

Dalquez
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Columban Aodh O’Halpin and Sr Margaret Healy are supporting a vigil next week, organised by Justice 4 Domestic Workers, to save an overseas Filipina worker facing execution in United Arab Emirates.

 

It will take place:
11 April 2017, from 6.30pm – 7.30pm outside the UAE Embassy, 30 Princes Gate, London

Jennifer Dalquez aged 30, a single mother of two children aged 8 and 5 is a Filipino national who travelled to Abu Dhabi to work as a domestic worker to support her children and her parents. But just a month before her planned return home, Jennifer was jailed for killing her male employer and was eventually sentenced to death by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Court of First Instance.

On 14 December, 2014, Jennifer had been confronted by her Emirati employer who attempted to rape her at knife point. Jennifer desperately fought back to save her life. She managed to turn the knife back on to her assailant during the struggle. As a consequence of her actions, her assailant was fatally wounded. Jennifer adamantly maintains her actions were in self defence. Her priority during the course of this incident was to save her life first and foremost.

Medical evidence obtained at the time of Jennifer’s arrest confirms that during the run up to the incident, she suffered a history of gross physical abuse at the hands of her employer; she had bruises and cigarette burns on her arms which she alleged were perpetrated by him. Further, prior to this incident and in the early days of her employment as a domestic worker at the victim’s home, Jennifer claims that she had been subjected to daily unwelcomed attention from him including mental intimidation, assaults, physical violence and molestation. She lived in constant fear and was frightened to be left alone with him.

Jennifer was due to return home to the Philippines in January 2015 and had been looking forward to being reunited with her children and extended family. In May 2015, Jennifer was convicted of murdering her Emirati employer by the Al Ain Criminal Court and subsequently sentenced to death for killing him despite her plea of self-defence.

Jennifer’s family and supporters of the ‘Save Jennifer Dalquez Campaign’ lodged an appeal against her conviction and her sentence. This appeal will be heard on 12 April.

The appeal process entails the Judge asking the deceased Emirati’s children to swear fifty times, before the Court and in the name of Allah that Jennifer Dalquez is the only person they know who killed their father. Jennifer is not allowed to plead her defence and/or allowed to mitigate.

If the children of the deceased proceed to swear in the terms requested of them, then the Court will sentence Jennifer to death. However, if the children refuse to swear the same in Court, then Jennifer will be ordered to pay blood money in the sum of Dh200,000 (£44,300) to the victim’s family in addition to serving a prison sentence, which will be decided and determined by the Court.

Jennifer’s distraught parents Mr Abdulhamid Dalquez and Mrs Rajima Dalquez live in the poor area of General Santos City in the Philippines. Jennifer was born there and they are desperately appealing for support and release of their daughter.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, through Churches Witnessing with Migrants, has also called for prayers for Dalquez to be spared from execution. “We take the side of the vulnerable; Dalquez’s move was an act of self-defense. May her death sentence be commuted,” they said in a statement. They also called on the Philippine government to do more to protect overseas domestic workers from the Philippines, especially women.

Justice 4 Domestic Workers is a self-help grass-roots organisation made up of multi-national migrant Domestic Workers in the UK established in 2009. It empowers migrant domestic workers to stand up and voice their opposition to any discrimination, inequality, slavery and all forms of abuse.

Justice for Domestic Workers:
https://www.j4dw.com/