Amnesty International slams new Qatari law restricting freedom of expression

Amnesty International on Monday expressed concern over a vague new law that threatens to “significantly restrict freedom of expression in Qatar.” (Shutterstock)
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Updated 21 January 2020

Amnesty International slams new Qatari law restricting freedom of expression

  • The law was issued by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
  • Amnesty say law threatens to “significantly restrict freedom of expression”

LONDON: Amnesty International on Monday expressed concern over a vague new law that threatens to “significantly restrict freedom of expression in Qatar.”

The law, issued by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, authorizes the imprisonment of “anyone who broadcasts, publishes, or republishes false or biased rumors, statements, or news, or inflammatory propaganda, domestically or abroad, with the intent to harm national interests, stir up public opinion, or infringe on the social system or the public system of the state.”

The law comes just two years after Qatar acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a UN agreement that guarantees individuals the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s research director for the Middle East, said: “Qatar already has a host of repressive laws, but this new legislation deals another bitter blow to freedom of expression in the country and is a blatant breach of international human rights law.”

She called it “deeply troubling that the Qatari Emir is passing legislation that can be used to silence peaceful critics,” adding: “Qatar’s authorities should be repealing such laws, not adding more of them.”

Under the new law, “biased” broadcasting or publishing can be punished with a fine of over $25,000 or up to five years in prison.

The new legislation joins laws introduced in 1979 and 2014 that Amnesty International says arbitrarily restrict freedom of expression.


Libya’s Haftar says any cease-fire would be contingent on Turkish withdrawal

Updated 14 sec ago

Libya’s Haftar says any cease-fire would be contingent on Turkish withdrawal

  • The internationally recognized government suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over Tripoli

MOSCOW: Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s eastern military commander, said he would be ready for a cease-fire if Turkish and Syrian mercenaries left the country and Ankara stopped supplying weapons to Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli, RIA reported.

The internationally recognized government on Tuesday suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over Tripoli after eastern forces shelled the capital’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

“A cease-fire (would be) the result of a number of conditions being fulfilled ...the withdrawal of Syrian and Turkish mercenaries, an end to Turkish arms supplies to Tripoli, and the liquidation of terrorist groups (in Tripoli),” Haftar told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.