His family claims that on the eve of the World Cup, a Qatari whistleblower who raised concerns about the mistreatment of migrant workers at stadium sites was tortured.(Qatar World Cup)
A letter from Abdullah Ibhais’s family, a former media manager for Qatar’s Supreme Committee, was also made public by the human rights group FairSquare. In it, the family accused Fifa of “callous indifference” for ignoring his case.
In the hope that Ibhais will be freed from his three-year prison sentence, FairSquare is now urging the United Nations working group on arbitrary detention to intervene. (Qatar World Cup)
In the letter, Ibhais’s family claims that he was punished for contributing to the ITV documentary Qatar last month by spending four days “in complete darkness in solitary confinement after being physically assaulted”: Fearful state? — with the air conditioner running at full capacity and being used as a torture instrument. The letter continues, “He was in a cell that was two by one meters, had a hole in the ground that served as a bathroom, and the temperature was close to freezing.” After the assault by the prison guards, I already had several bruises, and the cold air that was directed at me never stopped making me shiver. He told us, “During those four days, I hardly slept.”
According to Ibhais, he was imprisoned for expressing concerns regarding the Supreme Committee’s intention to deny that World Cup workers were involved in a strike in Doha that involved between 4,000 and 6,000 people. He claims that he discovered 200 workers without pay and without access to drinking water in Education City Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium. However, Qatari authorities insist that Ibhais, who was fired in 2019, was convicted of fraud in connection with a contract to produce World Cup-related social media content. Fair Square, on the other hand, disputes this, claiming that he was denied a fair trial and forced to confess. (Qatar World Cup)
FairSquare’s Nicholas McGeehan claimed that Ibhais had attended Fifa prior to his arrest. McGeehan stated, “He was directly messaging members of Fifa’s human rights team.” However, they just vanished at some point. For lack of a better term, they effectively “ghosted” him, and he never heard from them again.
In its letter, the Ibhais family also directly criticizes Fifa. We, the Abdullah Ibhai family, are writing to Fifa and its president, Gianni Infantino, who once said, “The World Cup is the voice of the marginalized,” according to the document. Fifa is complicit in Abdullah’s imprisonment, and her silence is tearing our family apart. Your deeds have not lived up to your promises. We refuse to back down from Fifa’s callous indifference.
A request for comment was made to Fifa and the Supreme Committee. Both confirmed that they were familiar with the letter’s contents.