Qatar has charged a Kenyan immigrant rights activist with spreading disinformation, after he published blog posts about how Doha mistreats foreign workers ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Mr Bidali has been formally charged with offences related to payments received by a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation within the State of Qatar,” the Qatari government’s communication office (GCO) said Saturday
Even though he had been writing under a pseudonym, Bidali was arrested on May 5 for violating Qatar’s security laws.
The GCO said Bidali was “receiving legal advice and representation ahead of the court date, which has not yet been set.”
Amnesty International and other rights groups said Friday that Bidali had told his mother over the phone that he was being held in solitary confinement and had no access to a lawyer.
Before his arrest, Bidali gave a presentation to a large group of civil society organizations and trade unions about his experience working in Qatar, according to an earlier statement by Amnesty, Migrant-Rights.org, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.
Qatar’s human rights record has been in the spotlight as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, especially over migrants’ living and working conditions.