Qatar Arrests Two British Human Rights Workers

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Qatar confirmed that is was holding the two British Human Rights researchers who had gone missing about a week ago. They were in the country researching the working conditions of migrant workers in Qatar – in particular in view of the 2022 soccer world cup – when they suddenly disappeared on August 31. Initially, the Qatari government did not acknowledge they knew of their whereabouts. On Sunday however, they said that the men were being questioned about possible illegal activities in the country. Last week, Amnesty International and their employer Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) suspected that they had been arrested and requested that the Qatari authorities ensure their safety.

According to the official Qatar News Agency, Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement that they were arrested and “are being interrogated for having violated the provisions of the laws of the state of Qatar.” The statement added that human rights – as outlined in the laws of Qatar – were not being violated through their interrogation and that they had been checked on by British Embassy officials. The later confirmed that they were able to provide consular assistance.

In addition to sending two workers to check on the status of migrant workers in Qatar, the GNRD supports the listing of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

However, Qatar is depicted as a “strong supporter of the Brotherhood and other Islamic groups.” David Kirkpatrick wrote that Qatar’s position regarding Islamists “alienates allies near and far.” He reported that “Sheikh Ajmi and at least a half-dozen others identified by the United States as private fund-raisers for al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise operate freely in Doha, often speaking at state-owned mosques and even occasionally appearing on Al Jazeera.” These fundraisers and Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood have led Qatar to be criticized by  Gulf neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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