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Qatar: Authorities must quash life sentences for activists

Responding to the news that a Qatari court sentenced three activists, including the lawyers Hazza and Rashed Ali Hazza Salem Abu Shurayda, to life in prison on 10 May for protesting against a discriminatory election law, and sentenced one other to 15 years in prison, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“The sentencing of Hazza and Rashed Ali Hazza Salem Abu Shurayda — and Mohammed Rashed Hassan Nasser al-Ajami in absentia — to life in prison is extremely concerning and it sends a chilling message to the activist community that dissenting views will not be tolerated.

“The court sentenced these four activists in a closed-door trial to appalling prison terms on bogus charges of inciting violence, when they had simply exercised their right to peaceful protest. Their convictions and sentences must be quashed.

“It is baffling that the Qatari authorities would punish these men while attempting to improve their human rights reputation before the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Instead of locking away state critics, the authorities must respect the basic and inalienable rights of all of their residents. They should also heed the protesters’ call to amend the country’s discriminatory electoral laws.”

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