Browsing 'cabinet' News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Jan Persiel/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Authorities are once again considering criminalizing the act of taking or sharing photos of accident victims in Qatar.

Yesterday, the Cabinet forwarded draft legislation that it approved a year ago to the Advisory Council to amend Law No. 11 of 2004.

The new provision would punish anyone who “captures or transmits pictures of the deceased or injured in accidents without the consent of their representatives, through devices of any kind.”

However, those who do so can already be penalized under Qatar’s privacy and cybercrime laws.

Two arrests

According to article 331 of Law No. 11 of 2004, it’s illegal to spread “news, photographs or comments related to a person’s private life, or that of his family.”

And more recently, Qatar’s cybercrime law has drawn flak for prohibiting the publication of content that violates the country’s “social values” or “general order,” among other things.

These laws apparently came into play during two high-profile incidents last year.

In October, one person was arrested for sharing dramatic footage of a deadly traffic accident that involved two teenage boys and a sewage tanker.

And a month later, the Ministry of Interior said it had arrested two people for posting a video of a young man smashing into a Rolls Royce at the Sheraton Grand Doha hotel.

It remains unclear what those involved were charged with or what penalties they faced.

The Advisory Council is currently on summer break and expected to begin its new term in November.


State Cabinet considers expat health checks before entering Qatar

Expats planning to work in Qatar could be required to have their fingerprinting, medical checks and blood tests done in their home country before they travel to the state.

The proposal by the Ministry of Interior was discussed by the state Cabinet in its weekly meeting yesterday, QNA said, although no further details were given about which nationalities might be affected. Currently, expats from 10 Asian and African countries, including Egypt, India, Nepal and the Philippines, must undergo medical check in their home country before being screened again in Qatar.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar Airways/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Moving forward on plans to roll out an updated kafala law by year-end, Qatar’s Cabinet has approved the formation of a panel to oversee exit permit grievances from those having trouble leaving the country.

According to QNA, a representative from the Ministry of Interior will serve on the committee, as well as two representatives from “relevant authorities.”

The newly formed panel is part of Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates, which was approved by the Emir last year and is expected to come into force on Dec. 14.

The main reforms of the legislation are that:

  • There will be a new system to appeal refused exit permits; and
  • Expats who finish fixed contracts will no longer need their sponsor’s approval to take up another job.

Though authorities have said the new law does away with the exit permit system, the text of the law suggests otherwise.

Once the new law takes effect, an expat who wishes to leave the country must inform the MOI (not their employer) at least three business days before his/her exit.

The MOI would then wait for the sponsor’s approval or objection before permitting the exit, the law states:

“Other than this (any objections), the employee can leave the country once their employer informs the ministry of their approval that they can go on holiday.”

If the sponsor objects, an expat could appeal to the new panel approved by the Cabinet.

Here’s our unofficial English translation of the new law.