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Filipino Men ‘Treated Like Women’ in Kuwait’s Central Jail
A parcel from Manila and a clique of bad friends have landed two Pinoys behind bars. Emily, a 40-something Filipina and a mother of a two-month-old baby one day received a mailed parcel that could, if she is proven guilty, keep her in jail for a long time. Mon, a father of two had marijuana in his pocket when a policeman searched him in Kuwait. Today, both are in Kuwait’s Central Jail awaiting their final verdicts. Their families visit them regularly and shared their stories.
At the beginning of this conversation with Mon’s wife Aida, Mon called from the Central Jail. It was one of the phone calls he is allowed to make in a week. He tells his story: An undercover police agent arrested Mon on his way back from work last year. The policeman conducted a body search and found a stick of hash in his pocket. Mon was detained on the spot. “We are OK. We are given food three times a day, the place is big, we have our own bed and we can take baths,” he said, a catch in his voice.
One of the things that bothers him though, is the attitude of his cellmates who “consider me a woman”. “Not only me, all Filipinos here are thought of as women,” he said. “I hope the embassy will do something to separate us from hardened criminals because some of us are not inside for serious crimes but we share cells with murderers, thieves and rapists. They expect us to be like women by their side,” he told Kuwait Times. Filipino prisoners suffer a variety of abuse from other prisoners, often being raped or forced to provide other sexual favors.
Aida, who said she loves her husband, asserted his arrest “is the best thing that could have happened”. She said that her husband could serve a jail sentence of up to 15 years after the court of First and Second Instance issued their verdicts. Now, Mon is waiting for the Supreme Court’s final ruling. “I hope for the best in the final ruling. But a 15-year sentence for the possession of marijuana is a really long period. I don’t blame the authorities. I know my husband was guilty and I’d warned him several times but he never listened. That is why in a way I am sad but also happy because this will be a lesson for him,” Aida said, adding that her husband intends to start a new life when he leaves jail.
Continue reading at Kuwait Times