Qatar confirms arrest of two British human rights workers

A foreign ministry statement said the two were arrested for ‘violating the laws of Qatar’

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Qatar on Saturday confirmed the arrest of two British human rights workers who had gone missing in the country last week while investigating the conditions of migrant workers.

Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev, who worked for the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), went to Doha on August 27 and were scheduled to leave on the morning of August 31.

Read: Rights group says two employees ‘missing’ in Qatar

Updahyaya and Gundev both checked out of the hotel but never boarded their flight, after complaining of police harassment, Ala Abu Dakka, program manager at the Norway-based rights group had told Al Arabiya News.

A Qatari Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state news agency QNA confirmed the two were arrest on August 31 and "are being interrogated for having violated the provisions of the laws of the State of Qatar."

The ministry said: "All of the actions that have been taken against the two Britons are consistent with the principles of human rights enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of the State of Qatar," according to QNA.

"There is a direct contact between the Qatari Foreign Ministry and the investigating authorities with the British Embassy in Doha in this regard," the agency added.

Qatar came under heavy criticism early this year over reported violations of the rights of migrants workers building 2022 World Cup projects.

The right group said that the two researchers were “working from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, because there are premises (center) for the Nepalese migrant workers at the embassy.”

“GNRD is continuing its work on the migrant crisis in Qatar; the new report is focusing on what has been changed since the achieved EP [European Parliament] resolution on Qatar and the promises of the Qatari authorities of change and reforms on their labor laws.”

GNRD said on its website that “Mr. Upadhyaya checked out from the hotel but chose to remain in the reception, feeling too unsafe to leave the hotel premises for the airport. Mr. Upadhyaya expressed alarm at the number of police in the vicinity, and noticed undercover authorities who came extremely close to him whenever he spoke on the phone.”

Abu Dakka said: “GNRD is currently requesting immediate cooperation from Qatari authorities to fully disclose the whereabouts and current situation of both employees.

“We are also in contact with all relevant Foreign Ministries and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and are attempting to secure their return as quickly as possible.”

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