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Saturday, January 29, 2022

QF’s Sheikha Hind responds to student letter on detained security guard


QF chairperson and CEO Sheikha Hind has issued a statement in response to a letter about the case of a detained security guard in Qatar.

Some 240 Qatar Foundation (QF) students, alumni, faculty and staff signed a letter addressed to CEO and chairperson of QF, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani with concerns over Malcom Bidali, a Kenyan security guard and migrant rights activist that has been held by Qatari authorities.

“In written communications to media outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent, officials from the Government Communications Office have cited violations of security regulations as the cause of his arrest,” said the letter.

Bidal was taken into custody and placed under investigation for “violating Qatar’s security laws and regulations,” on May 4, according to a Qatari government official, though the alleged breaches were not specified.

“Importantly, his incommunicado status renders him unable to access any legal representation-a right that is protected under Qatari law. We fear that this event not only threatens to reverse the steps the Qatari government has taken in advancing the rights of migrant workers, but also, as members of the Qatar Foundation community, of the Foundation’s commitment to nurturing a compassionate and just society,” added the letter.

The letter urged the QF CEO to for assistance in demanding details on the whereabouts of Bidali, justice and dignity for the detained activist, and to ensure “his safety and the full accordance of the rights owed to him under Qatari and international law, including protection from torture and ill treatment, and the right to due process.”

Since the signing of the letter, Sheikha Hind has responded to the concerns in a statement published online on Thursday.

Read also: Rights groups urge Qatar to provide information on detained security guard

“I am aware of the detention of Mr. Bidali and I am following the case. I have inquired with the appropriate authorities for an update on the situation, and have been informed that he is well and is being afforded his rights according to Qatar’s laws. We have also been in contact with the Government Communications Office and requested that regular updates on the status of the investigation are provided,” said Sheikha Hind in her response.

“I trust that the authorities are undergoing the correct procedures to complete their investigation, after which point we will have a clearer picture of what has happened. I will continue to actively engage with the relevant authorities on this matter,” her response letter added.

Rights groups concerned

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and GCC-based advocacy organisation Migrant-Rights.org were among a group that penned a joint letter to say they have not heard from Bidali since May 4th when he was taken from his company accommodation for questioning by the authorities.

Last week, a representative from the groups told Doha News that no charges have been filed against Bidali yet and since there is no formal case against him, he was unable to have any legal representation.

According to Qatari law, everyone is entitled to a lawyer only if and when charges are levelled against them and formal case proceedings begin.

Bidali, known by his pen name “Noah”, is a vocal migrants rights advocate who gained popularity for blogging about violations he witnessed in Qatar.

His Instagram page ‘Noaharticulates’ regularly addresses issues he faced as a security guard working in the affluent Msheireb Downtown area.

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