On 4 October 2020, Mohammed al-Sulaiti, a Qatari citizen, was arbitrarily detained after vocally criticizing his government on Twitter. This is the second time he has been arbitrarily detained, having spent five months in detention in 2018 with no charges. He was then put under travel ban with no legal justification. After protesting the ban on Twitter, he has again been detained without charge.
Ambassador Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani
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Embassy of the State of Qatar
2555 M St NW, Washington DC 20037
Phone: 202 274 1600 I Fax: 202 237 0682
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @QatarEmbassyUSA @Amb_AlThani
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2G4UnOp
On 4 October 2020, Qatari authorities detained Mohammed al-Sulaiti following his posting of Tweets that criticized the government. Four vehicles with no official markings arrived at Mohammed’s home in Doha and State Security officers in plain clothes with no identifying insignia took him away. Qataris close to Mohammed subsequently confirmed that there were no outstanding police reports or warrants for his arrest, and Amnesty has verified that he is being held by the State Security Bureau. He was held incommunicado for the first two weeks of his detention, and to date there are no disclosed charges against him, making this a case of arbitrary detention.
This is the second time Mohammed is arbitrarily detained by Qatari authorities. On the night of 17 July 2018 he was stopped while passing through the airport in Doha on a trip to Turkey. He was then held in detention with no charges for a total of five months, before being released with no criminal case ever having been raised against him. Throughout this period, Mohammed was held by the State Security Bureau, a secretive executive agency that operates under an expansive legal mandate with extraordinary powers of detention. When he was finally released from administrative detention on 22 December 2018, al-Sulaiti was placed under travel ban, with no legal justification, and held in the country indefinitely. Qatar offers no effective means for individuals to challenge travel bans, which can be imposed by the State Security Bureau and the Office of Public Prosecution at their pure discretion. Al-Sulaiti was vocally critical of his travel ban on social media, especially Twitter. In August of this year, Amnesty International published a statement on al-Sulaiti and three other Qatari citizens held under arbitrary travel bans. Over the next few weeks, al-Sulaiti was very active in reproducing and circulating the piece on Twitter and in protesting Qatari policy, running a poll on his Twitter account asking citizens to come forward and record their own experience with travel bans.
I urge you to immediately end the arbitrary detention of Mohammed al-Sulaiti. If there is credible evidence that he has committed a crime recognized under international law, he should be charged and given the opportunity to contest his detention and the charges in court with no delay; otherwise, he must be released. It is imperative that he be granted access to a lawyer, allowed to communicate with his family, and be protected from torture and other ill-treatment.