Home Human Rights The darkness of Qatari prisons looms over a staff member of the High Committee for the World Cup

The darkness of Qatari prisons looms over a staff member of the High Committee for the World Cup

A Qatari court has sentenced Abdullah Abhis to five years in prison.

The British newspaper, The Guardian, reported that Jordanian Abdullah Abhis went on a hunger strike, after he was arrested from his home in Doha.

Abhis, 35, was the director of media and communications for the organizers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Abhis was sacked from office in 2019 after he was accused of defrauding a contract to produce social media content for the country’s next World Cup.

Abdullah Abhis

A Qatari court, last April sentenced Abhis to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 Qatari rials, equivalent to US $41,197.

According to Human Rights Watch, the court ignored documented allegations that Department of the Qatari Criminal Investigation officers prevented him from contacting a lawyer and forced him to sign confessions. The court did not respond to his lawyer’s request to reject these coerced confessions.

In its report, the Guardian reports that Abhis, a Palestinian of Jordanian origin with a Jordanian passport, denied the charges against him and returned his prosecution for supporting foreign workers in Qatar.

Abhis was arrested after “Josimar”, a website specialized in investigations, published an article that relied on WhatsApp messages for an internal discussion of the Crisis Cell in the Qatar Committee in 2019.

In the letters, the head of the committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, suggests avoiding indicating that the workers of the World Cup facilities are not participating in the workers’ strike, and also suggests developing a “narration” that explains the delay in paying the workers’ salaries. However, Abdullah says in the discussion that it cannot be said that the Cup workers The world is not on strike.

Hassan Al-Thawadi

The newspaper reports that Abhis, in a separate conversation on 4 August with the Committee’s Executive Director, Fatima Al-Naimi, he proposed not to lie about the workers’ case, and on 12 November he was arrested for fraud.

In Wednesday’s statement, Abhis’ family accused FIFA of ignoring his fate and said that he had not received a fair trial, an accusation supported by Human Rights Watch, according to the newspaper.

In an earlier report, the organization said that the analysis of court documents and testimony indicated that evidence against Abhis was “vague, circumstantial and, in some cases, contradictory.”

Rights Watch also reported that Abhis’ confession was obtained under duress.

The Deputy Director of the Middle East Section of Human Rights Watch, Michael Page, criticized the Qatari authorities for robbing Abhis of the right to a fair trial, through actions that raised serious concerns about the justice system in Qatar.

“The Qatari authorities should immediately investigate allegations that Abhis’ confession was extracted under intimidation and coercion, and whether the Qatari authorities have used the judicial system in Qatar to retaliate against an employee for his internal criticism,” Page said.

The organization also described Abhis’s trial as “unfair” and called for a fair trial.

Amnesty International, for its part, called on the Qatari authorities to launch an independent investigation into allegations of ill-treatment of Abdullah Abhis, a hunger striker, overturning his conviction based on a forced confession and stressing that Qatar should be required to release him, before his appeal hearing on 23 November.

Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director of the Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International, said: “We are deeply concerned about the detention of Abdullah Abhis, who has already been subjected to multiple violations at the hands of the Qatari authorities.”

Qleaks has previously revealed considerable criticism of Qatar’s human rights record and the treatment of foreign workers at World Cup installations.

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