Human righs lawyer banned from travel outside the country


On 7th February, the Qatari authorities prevented prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi from leaving the country. No reasons were given for the travel ban. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights confirmed that the Attorney General of Qatar, Ali Al-Marri, had placed Dr. Al-Nuaimi's name on the list of individuals banned from traveling outside the country, though no charges had been made against him. Dr. Al-Nuaimi has voluntarily defended a number of prisoners of conscience, including poet Mohamed Rashid Al-Ajami. Al-Ajami was given a life sentence in 2011 for writing a poem that was considered insulting to the authorities and inciting revolt. His sentence was later reduced to 15 years and he was eventually released in 2016 after serving five years in prison. 

Also, in February, Amnesty International reported on a series of cyber-attacks (phishing attacks) taking place throughout 2016 against civil society activists and organisations documenting abuses of Qatar’s migrant worker population. While the Qatari authorities denied any connection to the attacks, Amnesty International concluded: 

"We don’t have conclusive evidence that could implicate any particular government or individual as being responsible for these attacks, but the fact that the campaign specifically targets individuals active on human rights issues in Qatar, makes us believe that it might be a state-sponsored or affiliated actor. We believe it is also possible that these attacks have been orchestrated by contractors. In fact, similar intelligence gathering operations uncovered in other GCC countries, have shown a reliance on outsourcing this work to private firms."