Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium becomes head of NATO mission
Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, has become the head of the Gulf country’s first diplomatic mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Al Thani began the role, which he will perform alongside his normal ambassadorial duties, earlier this month.
The establishment of the new diplomatic mission came after Qatar was invited to do so by the military alliance.
Qatar is described by NATO as “a very active partner” of the alliance, due to its membership of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
Villaggio fire defendant
Al Thani was co-owner of the former Gympanzee daycare center in Villaggio mall, where a fire killed 19 people, including 13 children, in 2012.
He and four other people, including his wife, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2013 and sentenced to serve jail time.
However, the defendants appealed and last month, a judge dismissed the prison terms.
Instead, he said he wanted to “punish” the defendants by ordering them to pay so-called blood money compensation to the families of the victims.
During the four-year-long saga, Al-Thani came under fire for failing to attend court sessions, citing work commitments outside of Qatar.