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Teenage Maid Saved From Firing Squad

A teenage Filipina maid who said she killed her employer because he tried to rape her was saved from a firing squad Saturday after the victim’s family settled for blood money.

The Islamic Court revoked the sentence Saturday after U.A.E. President Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, intervened in the case. The amount of compensation to be paid by the maid’s family was not released.

Islamic law allows the family of a murder victim to spare the life of the killer.

The maid, Sarah Balabagan, 16, might now go free because the 14 months she has spent in jail so far could be regarded by the court as time served for the crime, official sources said.

The children of the victim, 85-year-old Almas Mohammed al-Baloushi, had demanded Balabagan’s execution for the June 1994 stabbing, but the court announced Saturday that they had changed their minds.

The case has gained wide publicity in the Philippines, where the government has been anxious to avoid a repeat of a diplomatic row over the execution of a Filipina maid in Singapore in March. Balabagan was sentenced to death by a no-jury Islamic court last month. Her appeal hearing was opened Monday when she repeated that she had killed al-Baloushi in self-defense.