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Maat leads a large UN campaign to rescue an Egyptian detainee in Qatar

Maat leads a large UN campaign to rescue an Egyptian detainee in Qatar

Reports and meetings with special rapporteurs to detect Qatari violations against the Egyptian citizen, Nabil Mustafa

The security services, the judiciary, and the Qatari economic institutions punish the victim for his peaceful expression of his opinion


In the context of its interest to lay down the violations, of which some Arab nationals are being subjected to, Maat has made extensive efforts in the corridors of the international mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Hence, to save the Egyptian citizen held in Qatar, Nabil Mustafa Hussein, who pays for his peaceful political positions, and faces a fierce campaign against him led by the security services, Qatari government, and some economic institutions to prevent him from leaving Qatar. Furthermore, to prevent him from working inside or outside it as a punishment for expressing his opinion through his personal page on a social media platform.

Whereas, Maat presented formal complaints to the Working Group on the matter of human rights, transnational corporations, and other business enterprises as well as the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary cases of slavery.

Maat had received a written complaint, as well as a videotaped message from an Egyptian citizen who was working in Qatar and is still being held there arbitrarily. The Egyptian citizen, Nabil Mustafa Mohammed Hussein, 59 years old, who was working as chief executive in one of the companies which is subordinated to the Qatari newspapers Al-Sharq, Since December 2013.

While, the Association has succeeded in communicating personally with the complainant and monitoring the inhuman practices of the Government of Qatar against him, of which was carried out as a punishment of his political positions, which differ peacefully with the opinion of the Qatari government. The complainant was severely reprimanded in multiple forms on the basis of unwritten instructions from the Qatari security service. Moreover, the retaliatory practices against him took place in the form of terminating Qatar’s Al-Sharq newspaper his services in an arbitrary and surprising manner. Also, Qatar National Bank (QNB) banned and confiscated his accounts and prevented him from traveling outside Qatar. In addition to using the unjust sponsorship system against him in order to prevent him from working with any other employer based on Qatari law, and what that law grants for refusing to transfer sponsorship, without expressing reasons, in a manner that could reach the extent of slavery in disguise. It is worth noting that the victim is currently living in Qatar for two years, banned from work and prevented from leaving, without any income or shelter.

Maat has conducted several interviews with UN officials, and has obtained explicit promises to raise the issue with the Qatari government and work to stop the heinous abuses. Maat also explained to international officials that what the Egyptian citizen is subjected to is a natural consequence of the corruption of Qatari laws that turn foreign workers into people without rights. Whereas, the law grants the employers the right to draft the workers contracts on their own. Although the law grants the workers the right to obtain loans from banks by the guarantees of salary and work; but at the same time it grants companies the right to terminate the services of the worker at any time without giving reasons. Moreover, the Qatari law grants the sponsor the right not to consent the transfer of the suspended worker to any other work, by refusing to transfer his sponsorship (in accordance with the Qatari sponsorship law). The law also gives banks the right to ban the bank accounts of the borrower immediately upon termination of his services with the confiscation of his entitlements, as well as the issuance of a decision to prevent him from traveling, prosecuting him, and obtaining a prison sentence.

Maat also confirmed in its meetings and official reports that thousands of workers are being held in prisons because of this unjust and unfair law without committing any guilt, while international law does not allow the imprisonment of anyone unless he commits an offense or contravenes the law. Hence, a worker who has his services terminated against his will, has not committed any offense, and has not violated any laws, to get sentenced to imprisonment after confiscating his money and preventing him from traveling or working, in accordance with Qatari law.

Maat also thereof provided evidence that the litigation process in Qatar had been fully politicized in order to squander the complainant’s rights. As the Qatar Labor Court had 11 months in the first degree of litigation, while the case filed by the Bank against the loan lasted only 6 months at 3 degrees for litigation, two months of which were a judiciary recess, which makes it, 3 ended degrees of litigation in 4 months. Maat also provided evidence that Qatar National Bank (QNB) exercised fraudulent against the victim.

Therefore, Maat demanded the prosecution of QNB for using fraudulent methods to obtain the signature of one of its clients on a financial document that a bank would not obtain in normal circumstances, and to exploit that very document to harm the client and to facilitate the departure of the victim of the State of Qatar. Maat also demanded the bank to remedy the material and moral damage, and that the State of Qatar amend its labor laws, provide adequate protection for workers, stop the practices of disguised slavery against migrant workers. Thereof,  Maat demanded to ask the State of Qatar to take all measures to expedite the length of litigation proceedings in labor cases. And finally, prosecuting Al-Sharq for its arbitrary termination for only exercising his right to peaceful expression of his opinion.

Hence, all the aforementioned procedures took place on the sidelines of Maat’s participation in the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council, which is currently being held in Geneva, and parallel to its concern to follow up the cases of violations’ victims in all Arab countries, as well as betting on the ability of the UN mechanisms to stop politicized practices committed by some regimes. While, Maat thereof affirms that it will continue following the case closely, till the victim obtains all his legitimate rights.

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