Qatar Emir issues Ramadan prisoner pardons

Emiri Diwan

Omar Chatriwala

Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, has pardoned a number of prisoners this month in honor of Ramadan, QNA reports.

Such pardons are commonly issued by the Emir during the fasting month and on National Day, but no official information is usually released about those who are released from jail.

However, many of the pardoned prisoners in the past have been men from labor-sending countries like Nepal, India and the Philippines.

Their embassies typically send lists to the Emir of suggested prisoners to release.

Embassy reports

Speaking to Doha News, the Vice Consul of the Philippines embassy in Doha said today that the mission is still waiting to hear if any of its nationals have been freed. Melvin Almonguera continued:

“While we do know that there are a lot of Filipinos on the list that we sent (to the Emir), we have no idea which ones have been granted clemency or if they have had their sentences commuted.”

He added that in the past, details of those pardoned were only made available after Ramadan and the Eid holidays ended.

Meanwhile, an official at the Indian embassy confirmed that some of its nationals had been pardoned, but could not divulge further information for now.

And a representative at the Nepali embassy in Doha said that they don’t have details yet, but are hoping that half of their nationals in jail will be released. Last year, about 30 percent had their sentences commuted, he added.

Previous pardons

In issuing prisoner pardons during Ramadan and National Day, the new Emir is continuing in the tradition of his father, Qatar’s previous leader.

In 2012, the Peninsula reported that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani had pardoned 60 prisoners on National Day in December. Those who were released included people convicted of bribery, adultery, fraud, bounced checks and accidental deaths, among other crimes.

Last year, Sheikh Tamim pardoned 36 prisoners during Ramadan. The list included 18 Filipinos, 17 Indians, 14 Nepalis and five Pakistanis. Crimes included immorality, theft, possession of methamphetamine, fraud and unpaid loans.

Additionally, at least two locals were also pardoned, though Ibn Al Dheeb, a Qatari poet who was jailed in 2012 for “inciting to overthrow the regime” and “insulting the Emir” was not pardoned.

Nine Filipinas were also pardoned as part of Qatar’s National Day celebrations last year, according to the Gulf Times.

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About Chantelle D'mello
Chantelle-02OCT2014-0053-17

Chantelle D'mello is a journalism junior at Northwestern University in Qatar and has lived the majority of her life in Qatar. Her work has been featured in numerous local magazines including Qatar Happening and Just Here, and other collegiate publications.