Complaint to UN against Doha arrests and Tamim's tyranny
The Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights has renewed its complaint to the special procedures of the United Nations against Qatar, after the Qatari authorities ignored previous complaints made by the Foundation based on the authorizations obtained by the Foundation from the concerned parties to submit urgent appeals and complaints to the special procedures to cancel the travel ban decisions, as well as its continued arrest of a number of citizens, including a member of the ruling family, as punishment for their legitimate practice of peacefully expressing their views.
The Maat Foundation had sent complaints in October to the United Nations special procedures, especially to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding the Qatari authorities’ prevention of Sheikh Saud Khalifa Al-Thani, who is a member of the family the ruling family, from traveling based on an executive decision by the State Security Agency issued on May 2, 2019. In this complaint, the Maat Foundation explained the arbitrary measures and constant abuse that Sheikh Saud is subjected to by the Qatari authorities.
The Maat Foundation also lodged a complaint with the UN about the Qatari authorities' prevention of Qatari businessman Abdullah Ahmad Al Mohannadi, who was subjected to arbitrary detention for a period of three weeks, before the Qatari authorities issued a decision banning him from traveling since 2013 without mentioning any reasons for this ban.
In this complaint, the Foundation clarified the arbitrary measures and constant abuse that Mohannadi is subjected to by the Qatari authorities, especially since the Qatari authorities had closed his case. Despite this, he was still banned from traveling for nearly seven years.
In another complaint, Maat called on the Qatari authorities to lift the ban imposed on human rights defender and former Minister of Justice Dr. Najeeb Muhammad Al-Nuaimi, who is known for his opposition and critical positions of the Qatari government and its policies, which is expressed peacefully through social media. Nuaimi was placed on the list of those banned from traveling on January 8, 2017, and he was informed of the ban via a text message sent to him from the Attorney General's office in Doha without explaining any reasons.
Nuaimi has remained banned from traveling since this date, despite the issuance of an order from a Qatari court on June 4, 2017, to cancel the travel ban due to the lack of justification.
The Qatari executive authorities continue to prevent Nuaimi from traveling in an arbitrary executive procedure without any legal basis, which indicates that this decision came as a punishment against him for his political positions, in a clear violation of his right to freedom of opinion and expression and the exercise of his work as a human rights lawyer.
Maat also sent a complaint to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the arbitrary detention of citizen Muhammad Yusef al-Sulaiti and the ban on him traveling without reason. In the complaint, the Maat Foundation denounced the dangerous and vulgar approach taken by the Qatari authorities against its citizens, such as using local laws restricting basic freedoms, which contradict international conventions and agreements signed by Qatar, especially Law No. 5 of 2003 amending the establishment of the State Security Agency. Sulaiti remained in prison for five months, and after his release, he remained banned from traveling. The Qatari authorities then arrested Sulaiti again only two days after the Maat Foundation sent a complaint about Sulaiti to the United Nations, where the State Security Agency arrested him from his home. Sulaiti is still under incommunicado detention, and his Twitter account was deleted.
The Maat Foundation affirms that the arbitrary measures taken by Qatar against the four Qatari citizens violate the right to freedom of expression guaranteed in the Qatari constitution and guaranteed under international human rights law and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Qatar has ratified under Decree No. 40 of 2018. Also, the travel ban includes an explicit violation by the Qatari authorities of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Maat Foundation also called on the United Nations to quickly intervene to pressure the Qatari authorities to end all arbitrary measures against the four Qatari citizens, to remove their names from the travel ban lists, and to release the detainees. It called on the Qatari authorities to amend the laws that contain vague and loose terms, which are used to restrict basic freedoms, especially Law No. 5 of 2003 amending the establishment of the State Security Agency, as well as the Community Protection Law for its apparent conflict with the texts of international conventions and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to adhere to its international obligations.
In this context, Ayman Aqeel, head of the Maat Foundation, called on the Qatari authorities to stop this pattern of retaliation against peaceful opponents and to guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and peaceful expression, as required by international treaties signed by Qatar. Aqeel also called on the Qatari authorities to immediately release all prisoners of conscience behind bars for peacefully expressing their views on social media, lifting the travel ban, and dropping the charges against them.
For his part, Sherif Abdel Hamid, director of the Research and Studies Unit at the Maat Foundation, said that human rights defenders in Qatar face many restrictions, penalties, difficulties and harassment by the government, which imposes restrictions on travel and arbitrary detention. The best example of this is the violations committed by the Qatari authorities against the four aforementioned citizens.
Abdel Hamid also called on the Qatari government to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression for all Qatari citizens and to review laws that may be misused for political purposes or for reprisals against activists and defenders, as well as to ensure that all human rights defenders in Qatar are able to carry out their legitimate work in the field of human rights without fear of reprisal and without any restrictions.