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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Amnesty urges Qatar to investigate torture claims in espionage case

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

An international human rights group has expressed concern over allegations that three Filipino men convicted of espionage in Qatar were tortured while in custody here.

Amnesty International is urging a full investigation into the matter, ahead of the trio’s next appeal hearing on Monday.

One defendant, reported to be a lieutenant in the Philippines state security force who worked as a budgeting and contracting supervisor at large state-owned Qatari company, was sentenced to the death penalty last April.

The other two men worked as technicians for the Qatar Air Force and were handed life sentences in prison.

The men are reportedly accused of providing information to intelligence officials in the Philippines between 2009 and 2010 about Qatar’s aircrafts, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, as well as specific details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.

The Philippines government has strongly denied those charges, and defense counsel has said that procedural errors, including torture, would be part of the appeals case.

Solitary confinement

In a statement, Amnesty said one of the defendants facing a life sentence spent over four years in solitary confinement in Qatar, and was repeatedly tortured during this time.

The advocacy group asserted that after Ronaldo Lopez Ulep’s arrest in April 2010, he spent eight months in detention in a state security prison, during which “he was burned with cigarettes on his back and legs, stripped naked and forced to crawl around on the floor until his knees bled, and was frequently punched and slapped. He was then forced to sign a document in Arabic, which he could not read, that was later presented in court as a ‘confession.'”

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

During his years in solitary confinement, he was allegedly only allowed out of his cell two to three times a week for 15 minutes at a time. After three years, he was allowed to leave the cell once a day per a doctor’s recommendation, the group said.

Amnesty added that it had tried to raise the issue with Qatar authorities twice over the past six months, but has received no response.

It has also reached out to the Philippines Embassy here.

In a statement, Deputy Director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Program Said Boumedouha said:

“If the Qatari authorities want to prove they are serious about having a transparent judicial system and tackling human rights violations, then instead of turning a blind eye to this case they must immediately announce a full investigation into torture allegations and review the way the lower court trial was conducted.

Suspected perpetrators of torture or other serious human rights violations must be brought to justice in fair trials, and victims should be afforded full reparation.”

Since the appeals case began last May, hearings have been either very brief or repeatedly postponed. The next hearing is expected to be held on March 9.

Thoughts?

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

“If the Qatari authorities want to prove they are serious about having a transparent judicial system and tackling human rights violations, then instead of turning a blind eye to this case they must immediately announce a full investigation into torture allegations and review the way the lower court trial was conducted.”

Yeah, yeah. Who do they think they are dealing with. There will be no investigation. Qatar will deny any coercion or torture and therfore an investigation is not needed.

Gulf countries are the same as Israel in this regard, do not admit to anything and the world does not know if illegal acts have been committed or not.

Plus they are Filipinos who cares about them. Certainly not the Filipino government, the POEA or the embassy. They are just cash cows to be milked by the government. Helping them cost money and they don’t want to upset Qatar.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Too much drama

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago

They should be pardoned, there was no real harm done to Qatar even if they are guilty.

terracotta
terracotta
6 years ago
Reply to  Rapha31

Is that what happens in your country?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Rapha31

OK let’s leave aside the allegations of torture, if the commit a serious crime of trying to steal the secrets of Qatar for a third country, you can’t just say no harm, no foul. If guilty they should go to jail.

Raphadumb
Raphadumb
6 years ago
Reply to  Rapha31

Okay Dr.Phil.

hohum
hohum
6 years ago

These claims don’t surprise me in the least. Anyone who thinks that Qatar does not torture people are kidding themselves. Having spent 2 weeks in prison for being falsely accused of raping one of my Qatari students I heard many stories of forced admissions at the hands of the the CID. One prisoner from Eritrea made drawings of the treatment he received after being found in possession of a stolen phone. The picture that I remember the most was the drawing of himself having his legs and hands tied together, getting hung from the ceiling blindfolded while CID officers hit him with whips and sticks(2010).

terracotta
terracotta
6 years ago
Reply to  hohum

Were you tortured in jail?

hohum
hohum
6 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

I wasn’t tortured in jail, I personally believe if I wasn’t Australian and hailed from a less fortunate country I would have been.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
6 years ago

What I don’t understand is what would anyone from the Philippines want to know about Qatar? Why would they send spies over?

The Observer
The Observer
6 years ago

I second AnonynityBreeedsContempt.

Domz Shoelover
Domz Shoelover
6 years ago

We have a very very good relationship Qatar, Qatar are blessing the Philippines for philippines to think harm in Qatar is stupid

Mayette Dakanay
Mayette Dakanay
6 years ago
Reply to  Domz Shoelover

Philippines is a blessing to Qatar. Filipinos are hardworking with dignity and honor. Filipinos go to Qatar to earn a living. However, Filipino visiting pastors were maltreated because of wrong accusations. How can the be charge of espionage where in fact the are private citizens spreading the gospel of Christ.

Yuuuup
Yuuuup
6 years ago

Let them suck it up

DieFilipino
DieFilipino
6 years ago

Execute them all.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  DieFilipino

Deleting for being horrible.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

The Americans wrote a constitution in 1787 to protect the people from the government. It’s time that Qatar gets a constitution. No, wait, they are still in the year 1436.

Noah
Noah
6 years ago

To begin with, if there is torture in any way shape or form those responsible should be held accountable. However, thus far there are only baseless allegations. Not a single credible source have been mentioned or quoted stating factual or imminent torture. Amnesty is raising concerns of possible torture not asserting facts of them. From what’s been said, the only party claiming possible torture is the defence. Although the defence might be rightful in its claim of torture, it is not the most objective and credible in this claim because this is precisely the type of allegations that would help the defence’s case.

Therefore, one should refrain from dealing with this torture claim as a matter of fact. Instead deal with it as a matter of yet to be proven or disproven allegations, after all ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’.

let TRUTH be heard
let TRUTH be heard
6 years ago
Reply to  Noah

The torture claims weren’t baseless allegations, but rather ignored truths that needed to be given attention. The other three prisoners who were freed could attest to the truth and those were already documented. Qatar’s judicial system didn’t treat them as ‘innocent until proven guilty’ … they were tortured and considered “guilty” unless they can prove themselves “innocent”. Now, let real justice be served and let Qatari government pay for all their wrongdoings. Our God is a God of justice!!!

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Noah

No smoke without fire do we assume? Amnesty wouldn’t be raising this case for the sake of improving their media profile. Can you share with us your definitiion of Factual or imminent torture? Apart from ‘Alleged’ witness statements / observers etc, are there other forms of concrete, incontrovertable evidence that could otherwise be used by Amnesty, apart from maybe video evidence? Acoountability is never going to happen without incontrovertable and irrefutable evidence. Even if available internally only. The Phillipine government have too much invested in Qatar to rock the boat significantly anyway. A few strenous denies should be enough. Let’s hope these guys get back to their families soon.

Brethren
Brethren
6 years ago

There is no truth to the allegations of Qatar gov against these men. They are pastors and would certainly not commit espionage for the Philippines. But there is so much truth about the torture that they have received. There were 6 prisonners in total and 3 of them have been freed in 2010. Their totures were documented.

Renjovie
Renjovie
6 years ago

Tortured? I am 100% sure of it, i can proved it myself.

Richard Entac
Richard Entac
6 years ago

These people are not spies. They are pastors of an Apostolic Church. To think that people from the Philippines or the Government would spy Qatar is a big lie. I dont think the relationship between Qatar and the Philippines are not a threat. So why would spy?

Miracle
Miracle
6 years ago

This case has long been left unattended. Clearly the Qatar government is delaying justice to the three Filipinos that are still suffering because of this injustice. So much harm has been done In their lives and in their family, and their destiny. This case should be given attention until the truth comes out- that this Filipino pastors are not guilty and they are framed up, tortured and victims of so much injustice in Qatar.

Rowena Ostaya
Rowena Ostaya
6 years ago

The Lord God is almighty! He is above all these things…the TRUTH will prevail and JUSTICE will be served to this 3 Filipino brethren. God is good NOW, and NOW God is good!

Aileen Celomine
Aileen Celomine
6 years ago

They are innocent! We are hoping they will be free from prison very soon! God is with us & fighting for us! We will continue to bless & amaze our living God!

Saludtaneo
Saludtaneo
6 years ago

Whichever side you will look at it being imprisoned for more or less five years without due process of the law is injustice. And the qatari government must treat them with fear and trembling because they are God-fearing people. They have been wrongly accussed. This case must be finished soon with a favorably result in favor of the three filipinos.

Mylene Gromontil
Mylene Gromontil
6 years ago

These people are falsely accused and thus they suffer for more than 5 years in a foreign land. Justice must be served to them so that they could go back home to their land and be with their families!

Victoria lilian viray
Victoria lilian viray
6 years ago

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We demand the immediate release of our three brethren who were falsely accused of espionage. Let justice prevail!

Hiram Villareal
Hiram Villareal
6 years ago

We have more problems to than to conduct espionage operations. These men are not spies. Let justice prevail. It has been five years and still no evidence. Release our pastors!

Mar Gromontil
Mar Gromontil
6 years ago

We appeal for justice! Release these men. They are innocent. No evidence for the last five years is proof.

Marcelina Gromontil
Marcelina Gromontil
6 years ago

They are servants of God. These are purely allegations and no evidence has been presented for five years now. We appeal for their release.

Zaldy Luna
Zaldy Luna
6 years ago

Release your filipino prisoners you have no proof about espionage case they are innocent

Jho Pascua
Jho Pascua
6 years ago

Tortured happened to our Pastors is true, many people might not believe it but God is a witness. I believe God will surely move in our fight because He is a judge God. He is alive and will never forsake His servants! Bless and amaze God!

Marlon Pascua
Marlon Pascua
6 years ago

It is true torture happened to our pastors . We will not tolerate this inhuman way of treatment to people who is still under trial and not yet proven guilty .

Jovelyn magcosta
Jovelyn magcosta
6 years ago

It is true.torture happened.. It must be end our three pastor have also a family waiting for them..

MelZafe
MelZafe
6 years ago

The way I see it, there is too much injustice for our 3 OFW’s who are currently detained for 5 years in Quatar prison. Solitary confinement without due process was given to them as a punishment. FYI, these 3 OFW’s are pastors who are faithfully serving the Living God; they worked in Quatar not just to provide their family’s necessities, but also to fulfill God’s purpose… Injustice and unrighteous judgement might be done by the Quatari government but we all know that God is the righteous judge, and his righteous judgement will surely prevail. GOD is good now, and now, GOD is good! Bless GOD!

Joyce Ann Acabado
Joyce Ann Acabado
6 years ago

These allegations are not true and Qatar authorities are just making stories. They are using they’re powers to torture and abused people. Injustice must end now! Release our Pastors!

andrea
andrea
6 years ago

This is too much! The accusations are ridiculous and unfounded. The Philippine government can’t do anything. Just sad to know that they are just letting this injustice happen to fellow Filipinos. Can we appeal then to HUMAN RIGHTS activists? These people have rights!

Carol Carumba
Carol Carumba
6 years ago

This is only allegation! MANY SUFFERS BECAUSE OF FALSE ACCUSATION!

helen e.
helen e.
6 years ago

This espionage case is baseless. There is no solid evidence that will convict our brethren. Release them now and stop this injustice!

Carol Carumba
Carol Carumba
6 years ago

Justice must prevail for our brethren!

Karis Demafelis
Karis Demafelis
6 years ago

If the Qatar government really had issues with their security from the Philippines, then why not bring this up to the Philippine government? Why did they have to detain 3 innocent Pastors? Their injustice has gone too far already. Lives and families of innocent Filipinos have been affected and they have not even shown the real reason why they have detained our brethren. THIS IS INJUSTICE! Let our three brethren go! OUR LIVING GOD is on our side!

let truth be heard
let truth be heard
6 years ago

These three filipinos are innocent, they are not spies! They are servants of the Lord! We ask for justice, let truth prevail!!

Jez Sedillo
Jez Sedillo
6 years ago

These allegations are not true. Twisting and hiding the truth for a time is what Qatari authorities can only do but they can never hide the truth forever. Truth prevails. Justice for our Filipino brethren! They are innocent. This case should be investigated thoroughly by the government and not just depend on accusations not even proven to be true!

Elsie23
Elsie23
6 years ago

Its almost 5 yrs now since these Pastors captured and detained for accusing them as a spies, their allegations are not true and injustice, they suffered a lot even their family. Its time for JUSTICE to PREVAIL

Kathrina Bianca Zapanta
Kathrina Bianca Zapanta
6 years ago

This allegation is not true. Our Pastors are innocent, they suffered much in jail, accused with false accusation, they are being tortured and this is INJUSTICE! Release our Pastors and let JUSTICE prevail.

Carlsmooth
Carlsmooth
6 years ago

Philippines has nothing to do with spying, There are more important matter for a country and nation like Philippines to put into priority that getting information from Qatar.

Zaldy Luna
Zaldy Luna
6 years ago

Released our filipino Pastors they are innocent!! JUSTICE MUST PREVAIL!!

Emy Manzano
Emy Manzano
6 years ago

Why would they send someone over to spy Qatar and what would they get out of this? This is really injustice. There are much more important things for our country to be prioritized with than getting info from Qatar. Release the Filipinos.

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