The Sunday Telegraph

Persecutio­n in Qatar


SIR – The Baha’i community in Qatar

– a religious minority that has, since independen­ce, been at home in the country – has in recent years experience­d increasing discrimina­tion at the hands of the government.

Many Baha’i families have been forced to leave as a result of false criminal allegation­s, blacklisti­ng, and the baseless denial of “certificat­es of good conduct” needed to work in several profession­s.

We represent Remi Rouhani, a Baha’i and a Qatari citizen, and former director of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr Rouhani is due to appear before Qatar’s highest court later this month to appeal an unjust conviction. Our concern is that charges were brought against Mr Rouhani with the aim of pressuring him and his family, and to further unsettle the Baha’i community. We will closely monitor the proceeding­s and consider raising his case before internatio­nal human rights bodies if justice is not served.

Mr Rouhani’s case – and the decision of the court – may serve as a bellwether for Qatar’s intentions regarding the people of the Baha’i faith and other religious minorities as the country attracts global attention ahead of the World Cup later this year.

It is important that Qatar respects the rights of all religious minorities. Religious freedom means that Qatar’s government cannot discrimina­te against Mr Rouhani or any other member of the Baha’i community. Qatar risks eliminatin­g yet another religious minority from a Middle Eastern country if this pattern is not reversed.

Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC Steven Powles QC

Doughty Street Chambers London WC1

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