Qataris who seek greater freedom of expression and more democracy in their oil-rich nation face disappointment, and perhaps worse. In what may presage a wider crackdown on dissent in Qatar, Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah al-Thani — a cousin of the ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani — was last month sentenced to seven years in prison.
Sheikh Fahad was accused of shooting three officers as he stormed a police station in a bid to free his two sons, but the Qatari government’s version of events conflicts with other witnesses’. According to family members and others to whom I’ve spoken, it was state security forces that did the storming, using armored vehicles against the sheikh’s palace in Doha, the capital, last January.… Seguir leyendo »
This week, I am back in court in an effort to prove my innocence at a retrial on charges that I was a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist organization in Egypt since December 2013, and that I sought to harm the country’s reputation and security. I already spent 412 days in detention before my conviction in the first trial was overturned on appeal earlier this year.
The terrorism charges against me and my colleague Baher Mohamed are unfounded and have been widely discredited. The other charges relate to our employment by the Al Jazeera media network, which is owned by the state of Qatar.… Seguir leyendo »
Together with two colleagues from the cable news channel Al Jazeera English, I have spent more than a year in jail. We were accused of joining a terrorist group conspiring against the Egyptian state and reporting “false news.” In reality, we were simply doing our job as journalists.
Then, on Jan. 1, Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and I learned that our appeal had succeeded and that our case would be retried. We had hoped for more: to be released on bail pending the new trial, which will take months to convene. But we took heart from the court’s ruling. It was official confirmation that our original trial was seriously flawed and that our convictions, in June, were erroneous.… Seguir leyendo »