A former Qatari justice minister said people live in fear of persecution from Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in a report published by The Economist on Thursday.
“We’re scared,” said Najeeb Nuaimi who has been under a travel ban since 2017, in the article that looked at the Gulf state’s silencing of critics.
“They’ll take your passport or your property and leave you stateless if you talk,” he explained.
The report comes in light of the Emir’s recent decree that threatened five years’ imprisonment or a fine of $27,000 for “anyone who broadcasts, publishes or republishes false or biased rumours, statements or news…with the intent to harm national interests, stir up public opinion or infringe on the social system”.
The Economist also questioned media’s freedom of speech, in particular Al-Jazeera, and quoted a media-watcher in the emirate, saying: “(Al-Jazeera) is free to criticise other countries but never to criticise Qatar.” The report goes on to say that the state-funded channel keeps quiet about Qatari women who fleeing the country, seeking asylum in Britain.