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Qatar investigates death at World Cup site as labor rights under scrutiny

Organizers said the death was not caused by working conditions.

Published: Updated:

The organizers of Qatar's 2022 World Cup said on Sunday they were investigating the death of an Indian laborer at one of its sites but denied it was caused by working conditions which the wealthy Gulf country is under pressure to improve.

Laborer Jaleshwar Prasad, 48, fell unconscious on Wednesday while performing steel work at Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, 50 km (31 miles) north of Doha, a witness told Reuters.

Organizers said the death was not caused by working conditions.

"Al Khor Hospital reported the cause of death as cardiac arrest," the Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of the 2020 World Cup said in a statement.

"The family of Mr Prasad were informed of the tragedy immediately. A full investigation is underway."

Qatar's efforts to become the competition's first Arab host have been dampened by accusations including that workers were forced to live in squalor and to work without proper access to water and shelter in the blazing sun.

About 5,100 construction workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh are building stadiums in the country.

Prasad is the third Indian employed on a World Cup site to die of a heart attack in the last six months, according to a February report by the Supreme Committee.

Qatar's Supreme Committee says there have been no work-related fatalities on World Cup sites, but law firm DLA Piper, in a review for the government in 2013, found evidence of dozens of work-related deaths among migrant laborers from South Asia.

Qatar's government has also denied claims there are higher
instances of heart attacks among construction workers and does not publish independently-verified statistics on worker-related injuries and fatalities.

Autopsies and post-mortems on people who die sudden and unexpected deaths are forbidden by Qatari law unless a crime is
suspected.

The head of Qatar's Supreme Committee has said Doha is working to reduce abuses he described as occurring on construction sites all over the world.