• Press Release

Upholding torture-tainted convictions in Qatar exposes deep flaws in justice system

May 3, 2016

The convictions of three Filipino nationals on charges of espionage were yesterday upheld by Qatar’s Court of Cassation. The court upheld one life term and two sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment.


James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle and North Africa program, said:


“The court’s decision to uphold the convictions of these three men, after an unfair trial in which the authorities totally failed to investigate credible allegations of torture, is the latest demonstration of the deep flaws in Qatar’s criminal justice system, particularly as regards its treatment of migrant workers."


“The authorities should immediately announce a full investigation into these men’s torture allegations and review the way these trials have been conducted. All torture-tainted evidence must be excluded.”


“This case speaks volumes about the sincerity of the government’s stated commitment to extend justice to migrant workers.”


Ronaldo Lopez Ulep, one of the three men whose sentence was upheld yesterday, was arrested in Doha in April 2010. According to information received by Amnesty International, he endured repeated bouts of physical and psychological torture and other ill-treatment for the first eight months of his detention in the state security prison, and was then forced to sign a document in Arabic, a language which he could not read, that was later presented in court as a “confession.".


Qatar’s treatment of foreign nationals, who make up more than 90 per cent of the national workforce, has come under intense scrutiny in the build-up to the country hosting the 2022 World Cup. In March 2016 Amnesty International reported on serious abuses against migrant workers involved in the construction of Doha’s Khalifa stadium.