Qaṭar: Woman human rights defender Noof Al-Maadeed reports that she is safe, after alarming reports of her death

10.01.22

On 09 January 2022, Qatari woman human rights defender Noof Al-Maadeed tweeted a video confirming that she is safe and in good health. Then she appeared in a second video in which she confirmed the date and in a third video to confirm that she is still in Doha, the capital of Qatar. She also thanked all her friends and supporters. The three videos were posted on her new Twitter account.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), which received alarming reports in December 2021 that Al-Maadeed may have been murdered or forcibly detained upon her return to Qatar from the United Kingdom, is delighted that Al-Maadeed is alive and in good health. GCHR believes strongly that international pressure including actions taken by GCHR itself, in addition to the imminent opening of the World Cup 2022, forced the authorities in Qatar to take action to reveal the fate of Al-Maadeed, and protect her civil and human rights.

Following her return from the UK, where she had been since November 2019, Al-Maadeed sent out alarming tweets indicating that she feared for her safety after the government withdrew its protection. She posted several calls for help on Twitter, including a tweet on 12 October 2021 in which she stated that her family had attempted to assassinate her.

On the evening of 13 October 2021, Al-Maadeed stopped reporting on social media and had not been heard from for three months until 09 January 2022. This led to alarming reports that she may have been detained incommunicado or even killed.

Despite the efforts of GCHR to verify these very disturbing reports and discover her whereabouts in December 2021, the Qatari government refused to officially comment.

Since publishing its viral appeal on 14 December 2021, GCHR received numerous reports from Qatari citizens inside and outside Qatar containing various unconfirmed and conflicting information.

GCHR calls on the government of Qatar to respect women's rights by ensuring that laws are upheld to protect the rights of women to live freely without being harmed or arbitrarily detained simply because of their gender, in addition to upholding public freedoms, including freedom of expression off and online.