In June, a woman was appointed as a judge, for the first time in Qatar, to the Court of First Instance.
Qatar’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review in June. Qatar was urged to fulfil its human rights obligations, including by reviewing and repealing laws that discriminate against women. In May, Qatar was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Penal Code was amended in June to extensively define torture and intimidation; however, it retains the death penalty as a possible punishment in cases where torture leads to death.Top of page
Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against violence within the family.Top of page
At least six foreign nationals were convicted of blasphemy, four of whom received maximum seven-year prison sentences. In July, for example, the Doha Court of First Instance sentenced a Lebanese man to seven years’ imprisonment for blasphemy; he was reported to have “uttered blasphemous words” while being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance. It was not clear whether the prison sentence was enforced in this and other cases.
At least 90 people, mostly foreign nationals, were convicted of charges relating to “illicit sexual relations” and either deported or sentenced to imprisonment followed in some cases by deportation. Two men were convicted of sodomy and two other men had their sentences for the same “offence” upheld.
A draft press and publications law to replace Law No 8 of 1979 was approved by the Cabinet but had not been enacted by the end of the year.Top of page
Migrant workers, who make up more than 80 per cent of Qatar’s population, continued to be exposed to abuses and exploitation by employers, despite recent amendments to labour laws. In November, the Prime Minister announced that the sponsorship system was being reviewed and may be amended.Top of page
The government continued to deny Qatari nationality to around 100 people, most of them members of al-Murra tribe that was partly blamed for a coup attempt in 1996. They were consequently denied employment opportunities, social security and health care, or denied entry to the country, and had no means of remedy before the courts.Top of page
- Rashid al-Amoodi was informed that he was banned from travelling on 4 July 2009 when he sought to travel from Doha to Dubai. His travel ban was still in force at the end of 2010, although he was not formally informed of it by the authorities or given any opportunity to challenge it. The government gave no reason for the ban.
Criminal suspects were reported to have been detained without charge or trial.
- Mohamed Farouk El Mahdy, a UK citizen, was arrested on 15 October 2009 and held without charge or trial until his release on bail on 14 September 2010. He was held in connection with a client of his former employer who was alleged to have defaulted on a loan.
At least 21 people, mostly foreign nationals, were sentenced to floggings of between 30 and 100 lashes for offences related to “illicit sexual relations” or alcohol consumption. Only Muslims considered medically fit were liable to have such sentences carried out. It was not known if any of the sentences were implemented.Top of page
The appeal court confirmed at least three death sentences. At least 17 people were believed to be under sentence of death at the end of the year, including at least seven sentenced to death in 2001 for involvement in the 1996 coup attempt. No executions were reported.
In December, Qatar was one of the minority of states that voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.Top of page