SAUDI ARABIA/PHILIPPINES: Melanie Cordon the OFW falsely charged of theft and tried in absentia is released after serving her sentence

(Hong Kong, January 17, 2012) The Asian Human Rights Commission has been informed that Melanie Cordon, the Overseas Filipino Worker who was arrested in Saudi Arabia has been released after serving her prison term of four months.

Melanie was arrested after being accused of theft by the mother of her employer on August 14, 2011. She was never given an opportunity to defend herself and was tried in absentia. According to the information received, when Melanie went to the lady’s house to retrieve her belongings prior to departing the country she found that her suitcase had been opened and examined by a woman police officer. Items belong to her employer’s mother, which Melanie had never seen before, were found in her luggage. 

After being tried in absentia Melanie was convicted and sentenced to four months imprisonment in Ha’il Main Prison. Despite assurances from the Philippine Embassy and Mr. Raul Hernandez of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila no assistance of any kind was provided and the only advice the embassy officer could give was that she should simply serve out her sentence. 

Melanie was released on December 14 and will now return home to the Philippines, free and well but with a criminal record against name. 

For full details of the case please see the following statements and Urgent Appeals:

SAUDI ARABIA/PHILIPPINES: Falsely charged domestic worker convicted in trial in absentia

SAUDI ARABIA/PHILIPPINES: Melanie Cordon case – government’s neglect & inability to act promptly 

SAUDI ARABIA/PHILIPPINES: Melanie Cordon case – ‘serve jail term rather than question your conviction’

SAUDI ARABIA/PHILIPPINES: Melanie Cordon serves out sentence as government turns its back

While Melanie appears to have been well treated by the prison officials, a fact for which everyone is very grateful, she now returns to the Philippines to a doubtful future. The lack of attention and action by the government of the Philippines and especially Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs serves as an appalling indictment of their lack of commitment to the OFWs who bring in millions of dollars in revenue annually.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PRL-002-2012
Countries : Philippines, Saudi Arabia,