Qatar: On 07 February 2017, authorities in Qatar prevented prominent human rights lawyer Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi from travelling without informing him about any possible reasons. Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed 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 state - 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, and he was only released in 2016 after serving five years in prison because of a poem he wrote.
He describes himself on his website as “instrumental in the use of international human rights conventions and treaties to advance such issues in the country, as well as in the GCC region.”
GCHR expresses serious concern over the 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.
GCHR urges the authorities in Qatar to:
Revoke the ravel ban imposed on Dr. Najeeb Al-Nuaimi immediately and without any conditions; and
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.”