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5 Oct 2021

Human Rights Watch & FairSquare

Qatar: Ensure Fair Trial of Ex-Qatar 2022 Official

The lower court trial of Abdullah Ibhais, which concluded in April 2021, ignored credible allegations that his confession, the basis of the prosecution’s case, was obtained via intimidation and coercion...

The court ignored the defendant’s allegations that Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officers denied him access to legal counsel during his interrogation and coerced him into signing this confession, which his lawyer argued in court should be thrown out...

The court rejected Ibhais’s plea to invalidate the confession on the basis that it was extracted under threat and coercion and during interrogations that denied him the presence of a lawyer. The court said it has full discretion “to decide whether a confession is valid or not at any stage of the investigations” regardless of whether the accused recants the confession in court. The court stated that it was assured of the authenticity of the confession and that it was made voluntarily.    

Other aspects of the judgment raise serious concerns. It refers to testimony from nine witnesses, but Ibhais said that only four witnesses appeared in court. The judgment states that Ibhais and his co-defendant intended to “award the tender” to a bidder in return for a bribe, but the court record indicates that three of the witnesses said it was not in Ibhais’s power to do so and described procedures that would have made it impossible for him to decisively influence a tender decision. The court recognized that the tender was not awarded to the company from whom it was alleged that Ibhais had solicited a bribe.