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Monday, August 2, 2021

Abu Dhabi TV found guilty by UK body over ‘unethical’ interview of tortured Qatari prisoner

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Abu Dhabi TV channel aired an interview of Qatari citizen Hamad Al Hammadi after Emirati security forces had severely tortured him.

The United Kingdom’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) has condemned Abu Dhabi Media Company for broadcasting an interview that contained alleged confessions by Qatari citizen Hamad Al Hammadi.

The confessions were during his arbitrary arrest in an Abu Dhabi prison in 2013, and were taken after Hammadi was tortured and ill-treated while in detention, in a clear violation of his human rights.

Ofcom said that the UAE-based TV channel broadcasted an interview on June 22 of 2017 alleging they were confessions of a Qatari intelligence agent who had been working against the UAE. 

Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC)  welcomed the announcement, adding that the broadcast was a severe breach of the principles of fairness and privacy set out in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Ofcom’s decision also saw the channel hit with legal sanctions.

Read also: Doha welcomes Ofcom ruling against Abu Dhabi TV for ‘unethical’ interview.

The NHRC also added that this condemnation, which comes shortly after a similar incident by the same TV channel regarding Mahmoud Al-Jaidah another Qatari citizen who was forced to give confessions under duress, is yet more evidence of the Emirati broadcaster’s unprofessionalism. 

That interview, entitled “Mahmoud Al Jaidah and the clandestine organisation in UAE”, was aired by the channel against the will of Dr. Al-Jaidah, who was found to have been tortured while detained in UAE prisons.

The decision to condemn and impose sanctions on the Abu Dhabi channel is considered “a historical precedent that paves the way for deterring such channels from using the media to spread hatred, spread lies and promote gross human rights violations,” NHRC added.

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