Two circus organizers and a Hyatt Plaza official were arrested last week after a leopard attack left a small child in the hospital.
Firoz Moideen, the mall’s general manager, confirmed to Doha News that he spent time in a local jail after a baby leopard pounced on a five-year-old Qatari boy at the Royal Circus, outside of Hyatt Plaza’s food court.
Witnesses said the attack after an early evening show on Nov. 30, as the boy and several others gathered around the cub to pay to have their photos taken with it. The animal apparently suddenly pounced on the boy, holding his neck in its jaws, until three men wrestled the cub off of him.
Moideen said he and Mohamed Al Shorouqi, general manager of Global Entertainment, which organized the circus, were released from jail last week. But Hussein Akef, managing director, remains detained, a source told Doha News.
The circus was canceled after the attack, but the incident has raised concerns among residents about how safe such shows are in Qatar.
A court case into the matter is pending, Moideen said.
Lawsuit in the works
Meanwhile, Al Watan reports that the mother of the child, who remains in the hospital, plans to sue the circus, its organizers and the owners of the venue for negligence. The Peninsula translates:
Umm Khalid said that for the first five days in the hospital, Fahad was not able to speak. “He would simply cry looking at people. He began speaking only later.” His condition is now stable, but he hasn’t fully recovered since the leopard had buried his teeth deep in his neck and his windpipe is affected, she said.
She said one of the reasons for her deciding to file a lawsuit was to make sure that such incidents did not occur here in future.
Hyatt Plaza, which has a contract with the circus because it was based on mall property, but was not directly involved with the show itself, has not received any notice of a lawsuit yet, Moideen said.
“Of course, there’s upset – if it were my child, I would be upset. But at the end of the day, the court has to decide after doing all the investigation, who’s guilty,” he added.