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New Qatari law final nail in coffin of freedom of expression: Maat

CAIRO – 23 January 2020: Qatar has issued a new legislation eliminating the "last outlet" for freedom of expression, criminalizing any speech or act that contradicts "Doha's policy," an Egyptian human rights organization said in a Thursday statement.
Maat Foundation for Peace and Human Rights said that Doha has recently amended a 2004 law so that a Qatari who says or does something inside or outside Qatar that does not go in line with the royal family's policy may be jailed for five years and fine up to 100,000 Qatari riyals ($27,000). The act will be categorized as "stirring public opinion" and other vague worded accusations that allow for persecuting anyone deemed a dissident, according to Maat.
"Intriguingly, Doha intentionally kept this law secret. Although the Qatari official newspaper and official Qatari media outlets republished the articles of the law, namely the government-affiliated Al-Raya newspaper, the newspaper immediately removed the content in an apparent move to satisfy the government's desire to obscure the law," Maat said in the statement.
The law renders the Qatari constitution inactive, as articles 46-48 that supposedly allow freedom of expression and the press, also state that this is regulated according to the legal codes, Maat added.



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