Brother of Qatari emir accused of plotting double murder

Matthew Pittard, a security professional, claims he was threatened at gunpoint in September 2017 after refusing to carry out Sheikh Khaled’s orders to murder an unnamed man and woman. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 13 August 2019

Brother of Qatari emir accused of plotting double murder

  • Sheikh Khaled Al-Thani is accused of ordering a member of security to carry our a murder
  • The sheikh is also accused of imprisoning an American in his palace in Qatar

Sheikh Khaled Al-Thani, the brother of Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, ordered a member of his security staff to murder two people, according to a lawsuit filed by two former employees.

It was submitted to a Florida court on July 23 by Matthew Pittard, a security professional, and Matthew Allende, who was hired to be a round-the-clock medic for Sheikh Khaled, a racing-car driver. 

Pittard claims that he was threatened at gunpoint in September 2017 after refusing to carry out Sheikh Khaled’s orders to murder an unnamed man and woman the sheikh said were threats to his social reputation. The incident is said to have happened in Los Angeles, California.

The following year, according to the lawsuit, Sheikh Khaled imprisoned an American in his palace in Qatar. The unnamed captive was arrested on Sheikh Khaled’s orders and held at for a time at Onaiza Police Station in Doha, as well as at his residence, it is claimed.

When he discovered that Pittard had helped the captive escape, the sheikh told him “he would kill him, bury his body in the desert, and kill Pittard’s family,” it is alleged. Pittard said Sheikh Khaled threatened him with a Glock 26 automatic pistol and ordered him to reveal the whereabouts of the American or “pay the price.” He was later fired.

According to the court documents, Allende was also threatened with a gun, and forced to work long hours with little time off. He eventually climbed a 2-meter security fence and jumped from the top of a 6-meter wall to escape Sheik Khaled’s Qatari compound after he was refused permission to leave for a previously arranged day off.

“There is no circumstance in any country where asking someone to execute two people on someone’s behalf is appropriate,” said lawyer Rebecca Lynn Castaneda, who is representing Pittard and Allende. “It’s not OK. It’s not acceptable. It’s illegal. It’s pretty egregious. Pittard and Allende said there were several situations in which they were put by the defendant that were totally inappropriate.”

She said her clients are seeking $33 million in damages because Sheikh Khaled’s  actions prevented them from pursuing their careers, including interference in a security, law-enforcement and arms-brokerage contract Pittard had negotiated with the Police Training Institute in Doha. Sheikh Khaled is being sued personally, and his two companies, GEO Strategic Defense Solutions and KH Holdings are also named in the lawsuit.

Sheikh Khaled “created an environment of fear and intimidation. Defendant’s behavior has gone beyond a term of employment and intentionally extended into Pittard’s business and personal and professional lives,” the lawsuit claims.

Castaneda said the judge had issued a summons ordering Sheikh Khaled to appear in court. She said she expected the legal process to continue for many months and the case is “a long way from trial.”

 


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”