No bail for three Filipinos in espionage case

May 28, 2014 - 3:19:18 am

DOHA: Three Filipinos facing trial here in an espionage case are unlikely to get bail over the next five months as a higher court conducting the trial has adjourned the hearing to October 27.

Manila has, meanwhile, denied involvement in spying activities of the three overseas Filipino workers.

The lawyer for the accused had urged the Court of Appeals on Monday to release them on bail on condition that they would not travel overseas.

The lawyer had gone in appeal against the verdict of a lower court in the case, and the first hearing of the court was to be held on Monday.

The lawyer argued in the court on Monday that since the trio is in jail for the past five years they be let out on bail, and a travel ban be imposed on them to ensure that they don’t leave the country.

But the judges turned down the plea and adjourned the hearing to October 27, local Arabic daily Al Raya reported yesterday.

A lower criminal court had earlier sentenced the main accused to death, while sentenced his two accomplices to life imprisonment.

The defence lawyer also urged the court not to enforce the verdict of the lower court, and ask the prosecution to bring evidence against the accused. The court admitted the lawyer’s plea.

The trio faces charges of spying and passing on to some intelligence officials in the Philippines, sensitive defence-related and economic information about Qatar.

The three Filipinos were employed in Qatar and the main accused has been here since 1993.

Meanwhile, the media in the Philippines yesterday carried reports of the country’s Department (Ministry) of Foreign Affairs denying that the government was engaged in any espionage.

“We categorically deny that we are engaged in espionage,” foreign affairs spokesman, Charles Jose told reporters in a text message, reported the media in Manila.

Jose said the Philippine government had raised this issue in several high-level meetings with Qatari officials.

He did not provide the identity of the three Filipinos, but said the one sentenced to death was an employee of a state-owned company while the two others were technicians in a military base. 

Meanwhile, another Court of Appeals hearing the Villaggio fire case on Monday adjourned the trial to June 9, the daily reported.

The adjournment was due to the fact that some key witnesses in the case failed to turn up in the court.

The Peninsula