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Qatar World Cup Whistleblower Was Tortured in Prison, Says Family

HeadlineDec 09, 2022

The family of an imprisoned whistleblower says he’s been held in solitary confinement and tortured in a Qatari prison during the opening weeks of the World Cup. Abdullah Ibhais was serving as the deputy communications director for Qatar’s Supreme Committee, which organized the World Cup, when he was arrested and accused of bribery in November 2021. He was sentenced to five years in prison on what his family says are trumped-up charges, after he interviewed migrant workers who had gone on strike over months of unpaid wages — including workers building stadiums for the games.

This week, Ibhais’s family said in an open letter that Abdullah was subjected to torture after he contributed footage to the ITV documentary “Qatar: State of Fear?” This is James Lynch, co-director of the human rights group FairSquare, reading from the family’s letter.

James Lynch: “Abdullah spent four of those days, between 2nd and 6th of November, in complete darkness in solitary confinement, after being physically assaulted by the prison guards. He was in a cell of two-by-one meters with a hole in the ground as a bathroom and with temperatures near freezing, as the prison’s central air conditioning was used as a torture device.”

Abdullah Ibhais’s family also blasted the FIFA soccer federation, calling it complicit in Abdullah’s imprisonment.

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