Qaṭar: Qatar: Human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi protests travel ban imposed on him

30.04.18

Prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi has complained about a travel ban imposed on him in Qatar. He released a statement on 28 April 2018 explaining, "In order to obstruct me and cause an altercation, the Attorney General of Qatar issued a decree preventing me from leaving the country and then made a malicious complaint against me. ... I resorted to the judiciary, which was fair with me by acquitting me of the charges of slander made by the Attorney General, and the Court of Appeal issued a decision to cancel the travel ban issued against me. "

"But the Attorney General, with government approval, has continued to flagrantly violate the principles of the Constitution and Qatari laws, and has grossly violated the human rights for which they hold international conferences in Qatar, and applied on me a blockade similar to the blockade imposed on Qatar," he said.

"I will seek all my rights by all legal means available abroad, and I will resort to all means to obtain my rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the country," he concluded.

Notably, on 26 June 2017, Capital Security Administration informed Dr. Al-Nuaimi that the travel ban previously imposed on him on 07 January 2017 had been renewed despite the fact that the Appeal Court in Qatar revoked it on 30 May 2017.

On 07 February 2017, authorities in Qatar prevented Dr. Al-Nuaimi from travelling without informing him about any possible reasons. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received reports confirming that the Attorney General of Qatar, Ali Al-Marri, has placed Dr. Al-Nuaimi on the list of individuals who are not allowed to travel outside the country - without any prior clarification or directing any charges against him.

Dr.  Al-Nuaimi is a well-known human rights lawyer who voluntarily defended prisoners of conscience in Qatar including poet Mohamed Rashid Al-Ajami. Al-Ajami was handed down a life sentence in 2011, which was reduced to 15 years in prison, because of a poem he wrote. He was only released in 2016 after serving five years in prison.

Once again, GCHR expresses serious concern over the ongoing travel ban imposed on Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi without any prior knowledge or justification. GCHR expresses further concern at the targeting of the very small number of independent human rights defenders and journalists in Qatar who are able to undertake their work, which they do peacefully and legitimately. Qatar must take steps to expand the ability of civil society to address human rights concerns such as freedom of expression, women’s rights, migrant rights and access to justice; and sustain the working environment for civil society engagement, both national and non-national.

GCHR urges the authorities in Qatar to: 

  1. Revoke the ravel ban imposed on Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi immediately and without any conditions;
  2. Protect civic space and allow human rights defenders and their organisations to freely carry out their peaceful human rights work; and
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Qatar are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters“, and to Article 12 (2):The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.”