Qaṭar: Three of the founding members of the National Campaign for Travel-Banned Citizens were subjected to enforced disappearance

24.07.22

Local reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed that three founding members of the “National Campaign for Travel-Banned Citizens” were subjected to enforced disappearance.

On 21 July 2022, communications were completely cut off with citizen Abdullah bin Ahmed Bu Matar Al-Mohannadi , the general coordinator of the campaign, citizen Saud bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Thani, the international relations coordinator of the campaign, and citizen Issa Mardi Juhaim Al-Shammari, its media coordinator.

On 12 July 2022, it was announced in Qatar the establishment of the “National Campaign for Travel-Banned Citizens”, which includes a number of citizens who have been arbitrarily prevented from traveling for many years. The three citizens subjected to enforced disappearance were among its members and attended its founding meeting, which was documented by GCHR.

GCHR previously documented the grave violations committed against them. Travel bans were imposed on both Al-Mohannadi and Al-Thani, and all of Al-Shammari’s personal identity documents were confiscated. So far, no explanations for these arbitrary measures have been provided.  The three citizens have turned to the Qatari courts to assert their rights, but to no avail due to the insistence of the State Security Apparatus to continue violating their rights, and its absolute control over the judiciary.

Reliable sources confirmed to GCHR that the State Security Apparatus arrested the three citizens simultaneously as part of a wide operation, and then held them incommunicado in solitary confinement cells.

GCHR believes that the only reason for their arrest is their continuous peaceful activities on the Internet, their close cooperation with international mechanisms, including those of the United Nations, as well as their continuous contacts with human rights organisations, in addition to their activities within the “National Campaign for Travel-Banned Citizens”.

GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the State Security Apparatus's enforced disappearance of the three citizens who are peaceful internet activists, and who have spent hard years demanding redress from the authorities in Qatar.

As it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup, which begins in November 2022, the government of Qatar must immediately and unconditionally release the three citizens and restore their full civil and human rights, including their rights to travel and fair compensation for the harms they have sustained.