Wife of jailed Qatari royal describes his life in prison: ‘They insult him’

Published: Updated:

In an interview with Al Arabiya, Asma Rayan, wife of Qatari Sheikh Talal bin Abdulaziz bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, said that her husband is oppressed and insulted in jail.

Rayan spoke about the details of Sheikh Talal’s imprisonment, saying that she is only allowed to talk to him when the people answering the phone are nice.

"Some of them won't let me talk to him," she said.

Sheikh Talal, Rayan’s husband, is the grandson of Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, who was the Emir of Qatar from 1960 until 1972.

The late Sheikh Ahmad was deposed by his cousin Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, who is the grandfather of Qatar’s current Emir Tamim bin Hamad.

Also read: Le Point: Qatar arrests 20 opponents from al-Thani ruling family

The mother of four said Tamim’s regime forced her family into dire living conditions after they were put in poor housing and prevented from obtaining basic healthcare and education.

“I was kicked out of my house and my car was taken away. I was seven months pregnant at that time. It wasn’t easy,” she told Al Arabiya’s Khalid Madkhali.

In a March conference at the Geneva Press Club, Rayan stated that feuds within the family escalated after the death of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ahmed, one of the founders of Qatar, when he was in exile in Saudi Arabia in 2008.

Sheikh Talal’s own assets were frozen and inheritance was withheld following his father’s death. Without access to money or property, he was unable to pay his debts and was jailed hereafter.

“He was trapped into a conspiracy of signing cheques. It was a set up to make him go into business[es]. They managed to make him sign the cheques, and through that [he] was an easy target to put him in jail,” she said.

According to Rayan, the Qatari regime attempted to force Sheikh Talal to sign papers attesting to his insanity, but she managed to convince her husband not to.