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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Pardoned by Qatar’s Emir, jailed expats get ready to head home

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

More than 50 expats have been released from prison in Qatar over the past month following pardons from the Emir on National Day.

The men, who appear to hail mostly from India and Sri Lanka, were in jail for crimes ranging from petty financial fraud and bounced checks to more serious charges such as theft and drug dealing.

Sheikh Tamim usually pardons inmates twice a year – during Ramadan and on National Day.

According to officials of various embassies in Qatar, those who are granted clemency have often already served a large portion of their sentences, and the act of pardoning them is seen as a way of extending goodwill to the country’s expat population.

By the numbers

Speaking to Doha News, a representative from the Sri Lankan embassy said 27 of its nationals had been released and were currently staying in a deportation center while the logistics of their exit were being figured out.

“We get a list of names and passport numbers every year of nationals that are to be released. After that, they are moved from the prisons to Sanaiya awaiting deportation. Currently, the paperwork is being processed,” he said.

Meanwhile, RK Singh, the Charge d’Affaires at the Indian Embassy in Qatar, told Doha News that 12 Indians had been released after National Day. Seven had previously been freed in Ramadan in July.

And on Friday, the Philippine Embassy in Doha issued a statement to its country’s Department of Foreign Affairs stating that 10 Filipinos here had been pardoned.

It added that one of the inmates was female and the other nine were male, and that their repatriation is now being coordinated.

The pardoned Filipinos were convicted of theft, possession of illegal drugs and bounced checks, Cota Arimao, head of assistance to nationals at the embassy told the Gulf Times.

He added that more than 100 Filipinos were still serving their sentences in Qatar, and others had ongoing cases in court.

In 2014, a dozen or more Nepalis and Pakistanis were also pardoned for various crimes, including using or possessing narcotics and sexual abuse, but these embassies could not be reached for comment this week.

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