A number of top human rights groups have asked Qatar to disclose the fate of a Kenyan activist who was detained last week over shedding light on the plight of foreign workers in the country.
Malcolm Bidali, who published his work under a pseudonym, was detained on the night of May 4 by the state security service and the officials have yet to release any details on his whereabouts, the groups said.
“Malcolm is a security guard, blogger and activist, who has been vocal about the plight of migrant workers like himself and has written for a number of online platforms,” read a joint statement from MigrantRights.org, FairSquare, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre said.
“A week before his arrest, Malcolm gave a presentation to a large group of civil society organizations and trade unions about his experience of working in Qatar.”
Qatar’s human rights has come under a lot of scrutiny as the Perisan Gulf country prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.
The country stands accused of mistreating foreign workers employed at the sites of the stadiums and other facilities that will be used for the event. Doha has introduced labor reforms that aimed to address some concerns but a activists say they are far from enough.
The Qatari government’s communications office (GCO) said recently that a Kenyan national was taken into custody on May 5 for violating Qatar’s security laws and regulations.
“The individual retains all his rights under the law. All procedures of the investigation are being carried out in accordance with Qatari law,” it said in a statement.
The rights groups, however, said the man was most likely arrested for his activism and therefore should be immediatelyreleased.
“If Malcolm is detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, he must be released immediately and unconditionally,” they said.