Amnesty has requested urgent action be taken in the case of Qatari blogger Sultan al-Khalaifi, who was arrested on March 2 and is being held incommunicado. Amnesty is concerned that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Amnesty is requesting people to write
Urging the authorities to ensure that Sultan al-Khalaifi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and is allowed prompt and regular access to a lawyer of his choosing, his family and any medical treatment he may require;
Asking for details of any charges he faces to be made public and calling on the authorities to ensure that any legal proceedings against him conform to international fair trial standards.
Human rights organization Alkarama reports the arrest of three other Qatari nationals as well and says at nine o’clock at night on March 1, “a number of state security agents” raided Khulaifi’s Doha residence and car and took him away. An officer informed his wife that the agents were sent by the Attorney General, but they had no judicial warrant.
Alkarama feels the arrest is a result of Khulaifi’s human rights activities. He had served as Secretary-General of the Alkarama Foundation until the beginning of 2010, before leaving to found a new organization for the defense of human rights and he had contacted them recently regarding three cases of arbitrary detention which Alkarama then appealed to Qatari authorities about. The three individuals incarcerated are: Abdullah Ghanem Mahfouz Muslim Jouar, Salim Hassan Khalifa Rashid Al Kuwari and Hamad Rashid Al-Marri.
Alkarama reminds that human rights defenders and others who collaborate with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, are particularly protected by the United Nations and indeed the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 12/ 2 on 1 October 2009 “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights” to protect human rights defenders active both inside and outside their countries.
Alkarama calls on the Qatari authorities to respect their obligations under this resolution and requests that they immediately release Mr Sultan Al Khulaifi and those arrested with him or immediately put them under the protection of the law, ensuring full respect for their human rights.
Khulaifi’s blog was also highly critical of Qatar’s secular approach to governing and tolerance of Israel and the west. Previously, WL Central reported a Qatar protest day planned, rumours of an attempted coup against Emir Hamed Ben Khalifa, and an alleged declaration, signed by 66 political opponents as well as Qatari personalities and ruling families, including 16 figures from the ruling family, in which they announced the non-recognition of the legitimacy of the Emir. Key issues stated were western and Israeli tolerance or leanings by the emir.