Egypt's State Information Service publishes study on Qatar's law repressing rallies, meetings

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Sat, 17 Oct 2020 - 02:16 GMT

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad - REUTERS

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad - REUTERS

CAIRO - 17 October 2020: Egypt's State Information Service (SIS) has published a new study on Qatar's law no. 18, which represses its people's right to peaceful assembly in rallies and meetings. 

Under the title: "Tamim’s Firmans: No meetings or rallies in Qatar," the study explains the tiny emirate's restrictive way when dealing with its people.

 

Below is the full text of the study by SIS:

 

The Qatari regime has entrenched an image in the minds of the international community that Qatar is government, without a people, or at best, its people are a lifeless body. The world never witnessed a peaceful demonstration or gathering criticizing the regime’s conduct in Qatar. Yet the Qatari regime’s media trumpets never tire of preaching on peoples' right to peaceful assembly, and use this to feed media campaigns that aim to spread chaos and instability in other countries. All of this while the Emir and his gang repress the Qatari people who have become mere exiles in their own country deprived of their right to peaceful protest; so how did the situation in Qatar become so agonizing?

The answer lies in this study drafted and issued by the State Information Service on law No. 18 of the year 2004 that was issued by the regime to restrict and repress any attempt by the Qatari people to exercise their right to peaceful assembly.

 

A meeting cannot be held without two permits

Law No. (18) of 2004 stipulates the necessity of obtaining a permit to hold a public meeting. The ban also extended to broadcasting news about it, as Article (3) of the Public Meetings and Marches Law states that it is not permissible to hold a public meeting, organize it, call for it, announce it, or broadcast news about it except after obtaining a permit for it. The law did not stop there, it stipulates in Article (4) that it is necessary to obtain prior approval from the person responsible for the management of the place where the meeting or gathering will be held.

Having 20 people in your house is forbidden:

If any person decides to meet with his relatives, neighbors, friends or colleagues, whether that is in his workplace, a guesthouse, or a cafe, or even in his private residence ... he should beware ... then this meeting may lead him to his/her imprisonment ... after being forcibly dispersed if the number of attendees reached 20.

This is not a story of the exaggerations attributed to the files of the "Statsi" (political police) in communist East Germany, but rather it is a reality according to the text of the law applied in the State of Qatar (Law No. 18 of 2004).

According to this law a family gathering in a private place owned is considered in the view of the law as a "public meeting" that is prohibited from taking place except with prior authorization and strict controls, in anticipation that the attendees will discuss topics of a political nature.

 

A Birthday Party Could lead you to Jail!

A meeting or gathering organized by a government entity, a company, a club or even a wedding or birthday party do not go unaffected by this repressive law used to cement the iron grip of the Qatari regime. If the attendees or organizers of such events discuss a matter not related to its theme it will be regarded as an unlawful gathering severely punished by the regime with penalties that could reach imprisonment.

 

Not replying to a request means rejection

The Qatari legislator stipulated in this arbitrary law that the application for a permit must be submitted at least seven days prior the meeting, and he considered the failure to respond to such a request a refusal by government to allow the meeting, meaning that if the Qatari security apparatus did not want a meeting or gathering to be held, they will do nothing more than ignore the request.

Appeals are submitted to the Oppressor and appealing to a judge is forbidden

Among the ridiculous provisions of this law, is article 5 that stipulates that if someone wishes to appeal his/her rejected request he/she must submit this appeal the Minister of Interior, who happens to be the authority who rejected issuing the permit in the first place. This basically spares the Minister the headache of considering the appeal as the regime has no intention to allow any form of peaceful assembly. Furthermore, article 5 immunes the Minister of Interior’s decision from any judicial appeal the applicant may submit.

 

The Security apparatus may deny permitting electoral rallies were there any elections in the first place?

Although not a single election for the Shura Council (Qatar’s only elected body) was held since the 2004 constitution, the law gave the authorities the right to object to the organization of an electoral meeting, and the candidate may appeal to the Minister of Interior in accordance with the same arbitrary provisions stipulated in Article (5) of this law.

 

The Security Services must be present at every meeting!!

Article 10 of law no. 18 granted the security services the right to break into or forcefully be present at private and public venues witnessing a licensed gathering with impunity. This is a grave violation of the people’s right to exercise the right to peaceful assembly, as no one may dare speak freely under the watchful eyes of the brutal agents of Qatar’s security apparatus. The idea that the security services can legally break into a private gathering or place is a blatant violation of the sanctity of the private lives of all the helpless citizens of Qatar.

 

Security Services are willing and able to use force

Article 9 of the law was intentionally drafted to have vague provisions such as “violating religious principles” or “not observing social values” to forcefully disperse a peaceful gathering. Article 10 clearly grants the police the authority to use force to breakup licensed gatherings under the pretext of violating article 9.

 

Peacefully Demonstrate and you will go to jail

This law imposes heavy penalties on offenders in order to terrorize the populace and dissuade anyone who contemplates exercising their right to peaceful assembly.

If a peaceful gathering of any kind is held without a permit the organizers and participants will be arrested and sentenced to 3 years in prison according to article 15 of the law.

Calling for a rally or gathering of any kinds without an official permit is punishable by hefty fines and a 1 month behind bars according to article 17.

Article 19 states that if an owner of a venue allows a private gathering to convene in it he/she may spend up to 3 months in jail and will be obliged to pay a hefty fine.

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