Despite the progress made by the government of Qatar, allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment continue to be reported, albeit sporadically.
There are indications that the police in Qatar are reluctant to treat violence against women, particularly violence within the family, as a criminal matter although such violence constitutes an assault under strict application of the law.
Despite the progress made by the government of Qatar, allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment continue to be reported, albeit sporadically, and there are not adequate systems in place, in practice, to ensure prompt, independent investigation of allegations of torture or ill-treatment and adequate remedy or redress for victims. Sentences of flogging continued to be imposed.
Qatar's domestic legislation fails to define or adequately prohibit torture. Article 36 of the Constitution states "…No one shall be subjected to torture or degrading treatment. Torture shall be considered a crime publishable by law". However, this is not reflected in Qatar's Penal Code of 2004, which contains no provision specifically prohibiting torture and fails therefore, to give legislative effect to this important constitutional safeguard.
Incommunicado detention is standard practice by State Security forces in Qatar. Amnesty International has received reports in recent years of dozens of people being detained incommunicado by State Security forces for weeks or months, followed by prolonged arbitrary detention without charge or trial.
In 2006, the UN Committee against Torture examined Qatar's implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee expressed concern that arrest and detention procedures placed suspects at increased risk of torture, particularly the lack of access to a lawyer or independent doctor or any requirement that the authorities notify a detainee's relatives of the arrest.
Qatari blogger and the founder of a human rights organization, Sultan al-Khalaifi, who was arrested on March 2nd 2011 and detained incommunicado was released on April 1st 2011 without any charges.
There are indications that the police in Qatar are reluctant to treat violence against women, particularly violence within the family, as a criminal matter although such violence constitutes an assault under strict application of the law. This police reluctance to address the issue using the criminal law, it is suggested, tends to deter women from coming forward to report violence to which they are subject within the home.
Article 35 of the new Qatari Constitution bans all discrimination "on grounds of sex, race, language, or religion". In practice, however, women remained subject to gender discrimination under a range of laws and practices, such as laws concerning marriage contracts that favor men. Women must also obtain approval from their husband or guardian before traveling, and children of Qatari women who marry foreign nationals do not qualify for Qatari citizenship, unlike children born to Qatari fathers and foreign mothers.
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