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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Former Qatar-based Emirati dissident killed in London car crash


Emirati Alaa Al-Siddiq, who previously sought political asylum in Qatar, has passed away in a car crash in London.

Prominent Emirati dissident and outspoken human rights defender Alaa Al-Siddiq has passed away in a car crash in London, rights groups confirmed on Sunday.

Al Siddiq previously sought political asylum with her husband Abdulrahman Bajubeir in Qatar in 2012, where she was residing with relatives. This was during a campaign of arrests in the UAE against political dissidents in 2011 to 2012. Bajubeir then left for the UK, while his wife remained in Doha before shortly following him to London.

Al Siddiq has rallied to defend the rights of prisoners of conscience in the UAE, including the plight of her father, Mohammad Al Siddiq who is being held in Emirati prison and was stripped of his citizenship.

In one tweet, she said “I want my father to be released from prison alive”.

In a 2018 interview with Qatar TV, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that a dispute had occurred between Qatar and the UAE in 2015 concerning a political dissident’s wife.

The UAE sent a special envoy to the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and demanded that Qatar hand over the woman for arrest – a request that Qatar refused. This caused a dispute between the Gulf nations in 2015, just years ahead of the 2017 blockade.

Although the Qatari official fell short of mentioning her name, it was later clarified that the woman in question was Al Siddiq, according to editor-in-chief of the Qatar-based newspaper Al-Arab, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Athba.

Al Siddiq was the executive director of ALQST, an independent non-governmental organisation that advocates for human rights. She received her masters in Public Policy from the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar Foundation.

Her death sparked an outpouring of condolences from major rights defenders online, including the fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed by Saudi agents in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in 2018.

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