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Monday, September 20, 2021

No, a man is not facing the death penalty for smuggling bacon into Qatar

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

Reports that a man is on trial in Qatar for trying to smuggle 12kg of bacon into the country are false.

Though the local Customs Authority has not replied to a request for comment on the story, here are the reasons why it’s clear the news – which has been reposted by Qatar Scoop and local content aggregator Qatar Day – is made up:

The ‘news’ originates from a satirical website

The report of the man smuggling bacon in his anal cavity originates from the World News Daily Report.

The website creates outrageous articles in the spirit of The Onion or The Poke that sound like they could be true, but indeed are not.

40-pound baby spoof story
40-pound baby spoof story

Some of World News Daily’s other “top stories” today include reports of a woman giving birth to a 40-pound baby and killer whales eating a Japanese whaling crew.

The man pictured is a Taliban leader

Secondly, the story asserts that a Yemeni man named Abd al Rahman Shamoun was spotted at Hamad International Airport by a specially trained police dog, looking for passengers carrying drugs or pork.

However, the image of “Shamoun” is actually a photo of Khairullah Khairkhwa – an Afghan citizen and former Taliban official who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and held at Guantanamo Bay.

Fake news
Fake news

Khairkhwa is among five former Taliban prisoners sent by the US to live here two years ago, and likely has not left Qatar since given a UN travel ban.

The photo of the smuggled goods is a fake

The phony news article purports to show several Ministry of Interior officials standing behind a table displaying the seizure of bacon.

Doctored photo
Doctored photo

However, the photo has been obviously doctored and appears to have been originally taken in 2012 at a press conference to announce Qatargas’ sponsorship of the Qatar Police Sports Association.

That’s a lot of bacon

The news asserts that the man smuggled 12kg of the cured meat into a small body cavity.

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

That simply defies all logic and would likely cause a person to appear more than just “nervous and sweaty,” as stated in the article.

The death penalty would be a stiff sentence

The story concludes by asserting that the defendant could face the death penalty, or a minimum of 50 lashes and 15 years in prison.

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

While it’s true that travelers are not supposed to bring pork products into the country, residents report that customs is rather lax with this rule, either letting people pass or simply confiscating the meat.

Authorities are much tougher when it comes to smuggling drugs, however, and courts have handed down death sentences for such cases.

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