Qatar school responds to former teacher’s child sex arrest

Mugshot of former Dubai teacher William Ball, who was arrested in the US last week. (The Indy Channel)
Updated 26 June 2018

Qatar school responds to former teacher’s child sex arrest

DUBAI: The Qatar Academy in Doha has responded to the recent arrest of one of its former staff members who was charged with attempting to solicit sex with a child.
“We are shocked to hear about the allegations made against a former Qatar Academy Doha (QAD) teacher, William Ball,” the school said in a statement sent to Arab News.
“No concerns about his conduct towards children were raised during his employment.”
News broke of Ball’s arrest early Monday morning. Local reports suggested that he was originally from Mississippi and a music teacher at the school. Prior to his employment in Dubai, he was working at the Qatar Academy in Doha.
During a bond hearing in a court in Tampa the prosecutor explained that Ball was using the Internet and a mobile phone to set up and meet a seven-year-old, according to US cable news channel ABC.
The court heard that Ball paid $5,000 for a plane ticket and traveled to meet the child.
On his arrest, he was found to have items for a child, condoms and lubricant, the court heard.
The statement went on to say that the academy was offering support for students, parents and staff: “Qatar Academy recognizes that students, parents and staff may be disturbed by the reports; our counseling staff are on hand to provide whatever support needed,” it concluded.
The academy did not provide any further information about Ball and his employment at the Qatar school, despite requests by Arab News.

Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019

Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • UN official stresses ‘urgent need to ensure’ their ‘safe, voluntary and dignified return’
  • Some 215,000 Syrian students are currently enrolled in Lebanon's schools 

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”