Swiss journalists claim they were held in Qatar for 13 days
Two sports reporters were filming “landscape shots” for a soccer report in Qatar when they were picked up by Mesaieed police, Swiss television station RTS said in a statement.
They eventually went to court and faced a judge, who ordered them to pay a fine. They were freed sans camera, but were unable to leave Qatar until the Swiss embassy in Kuwait intervened (there is no Swiss embassy here), AFP reported.
UPDATE: Qatar’s Ministry of Interior said the two Swiss men were in Qatar on tourist visas and were not authorized to work as journalists in the country.
The Peninsula reports:
The source said media reports that they were detained for long and a travel ban was imposed on them are baseless.It took about two hours to take them to the Prosecution office from Messaieed and they were released immediately after questioning, the source said…
Messaieed has picturesque beaches but is also the hub of Qatar’s vibrant and sensitive petrochemical industries.
For its part, RTS plans to complain to FIFA about the treatment of its reporters.
“The arbitrary conduct of the Qatari police constitutes a serious violation of press liberty,” said Massimo Lorenzi, head of sports at RTS.
He also said that the “very regrettable incident” would be reported to “all the responsible authorities concerned, as well as [world soccer’s governing body] FIFA.”