Doha, Qatar – A Kenyan national was arrested in Qatar last month, Accused of “spreading false information”, According to the rights organization and his employer, has been released.
Malcolm Bidali, 28, working as a security guard for GSS Certis in the capital Doha, was arrested at his residence on May 5 and “under investigation for violating Qatar security laws and regulations”, Qatar Government Communications The Office (GCO) said last month.
On May 30, GCO stated that Bidali was “formally charged with crimes related to payments received by foreign agents for creating and disseminating false information in Qatar”.
Salem al-Mohannadi, Qatar owner of GSS Certis, confirmed to Al Jazeera that the 28-year-old had been released.
“Yes, he has been released, but I don’t have more details,” al-Mohannadi told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
“Now this is a government case. We fully support our country, and it is difficult to understand who is opposing this country.”
Rights groups Expressed concern His arrest may be revenge for human rights work.
Bidali blogged under the pseudonym Noah and wrote about labor rights issues, including long working hours, wage issues, working conditions, and inappropriate housing and workplace conditions.
Earlier, Migrant-Rights.Org, Bidali once recorded the lives of Qatari migrant workers on a blog, confirming that Bidali “has been released, but the charges against him still exist”.
The government of Qatar declined to comment when contacted by Al Jazeera.
Malcolm sends (@noaharticulates) Has been released, but the charges against him still exist.
Before his release earlier this week, he did not receive any legal counsel.
The accusations against him are just to keep him silent, all accusations of activism about him must be dropped pic.twitter.com/GxbOcJS3qJ
-Immigration Rights (@MigrantRights) June 2, 2021
It had earlier stated that Bidali “accepted legal advice and representation before the trial date, which has not yet been determined.”
In a tweet, Migrant-Rights.Org claimed that “he did not receive any legal counsel before his release earlier this week.”
Last month, human rights organizations including Amnesty International stated in a statement that Bidali told his mother in a phone call on May 20 that he was in solitary confinement and could not contact a lawyer.
The Doha office of the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated that it is watching the case “closely”.
In a statement sent to Al Jazeera last month, the ILO said: “The Office cannot comment on the allegations, but it is important for Mr. Bidali to accept due process.”
“The International Trade Union Confederation has offered to provide support to Mr. Bidali’s independent legal representative, and the ILO Office will continue to monitor developments.”
Just a few days before his arrest, Bidali, who moved to Qatar in 2016, introduced the situation of Qatari migrant workers to civil society groups online, and described his experience as a security guard there.
He also sent him a suspicious link via a tweet, which some experts said was used to track Bidali’s phishing attacks. Twitter account has been disabled.
The government of Qatar may eventually use the information collected from the clicked link to de-anonymize and arrest him. Sometime after May 25, 2021, Twitter suspended accounts participating in IP recorder activities, including @MukhbatQatar.
-Bill Marczak (@billmarczak) May 28, 2021
A spokesperson for Migrant-Rights.Org told Al Jazeera last month that the organization had contact with Bidali last year and that “he is keen to help other troubled workers, especially during the pandemic.”
The organization stated on Twitter: “It is important to emphasize that @Noaharticulates’ blog posts and initiatives cannot be considered’false information.’ The content he advocates is always nuanced and multi-layered, and its sole purpose is to improve Qatar. Rather than slander this country.”
Latest news from labor rights activist Malcolm Bidali:
Malcolm is no longer detained but faces apparently fabricated charges #Qatar It has to do with his legal activism. All charges against his human rights work must be dropped.
-amnestypress (@amnestypress) June 2, 2021
Since obtaining the right to host the 2022 Football World Cup, Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and its human rights record has been a concern.
However, before the big events to be held in November and December next year, the country has already carried out several labor reforms.
Qatar, August 2020 Announce landmark changes Labor law, including removing the need for a no-objection certificate. Earlier this year, a new minimum wage law was also introduced.