“He was tortured by Qatari security” .. new details in the case of a British director found hanged

British newspaper The Times on Thursday revealed details of the “mysterious” death of a British executive who previously worked for Qatar Airways and was detained by Qatari security for several days.

Mark Bennett, 52, was found hanged in a Doha hotel over the 2019 Christmas holiday, ten weeks after he was arrested in a Qatar Airways office and taken blindfolded and handcuffed to a state security detention centre.

The paper says Bennett later spoke about the methods of torture he was subjected to during the three-week detention period, including stripping him of his clothes, spraying him with water with high-pressure hoses, banging his head against walls and putting him to sleep expose. deprivation techniques.

UN lawyers say there are “credible allegations” of extrajudicial detention and ill-treatment in the facility where he was held.

The newspaper notes that Bennett was barred from leaving Qatar after his release and did not know if he was facing any charges and feared he had been rearrested, according to his family.

The newspaper adds that the Qatari authorities announced that Bennett’s death was the result of suicide, but the British coroner confirmed that “there is no specific evidence of a suicidal intent” and that “the circumstances of the months that she preceded death, is still unclear.”

Bennett did not leave a suicide note and did not send any emails or text messages over the phone to his friends or family about it. The newspaper says he made a video call with his wife and children the night before his death and laughed and joked through it.

The newspaper says that the British Foreign Office closed the case last September despite the concerns of the family and the coroner, just a week after Liz Truss became foreign secretary.

She adds that Terrace visited Qatar the following month to start a “strategic dialogue” and “initiate deeper cooperation in the areas of security, development, trade and investment.”

Last May, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met Boris Johnson to announce a £10bn investment package in Britain.

Bennett left Thomas Cook Tourism to become vice president of Discover Qatar, a subsidiary of the state-owned Qatar Airways Group, in 2017.

His work was focused on modernizing the country’s tourism sector, with former colleagues stating that he worked closely with Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways and director of London Heathrow Airport, in which Qatar owns 20 percent, according to the newspaper. possess.

The newspaper notes that Bennett’s arrest took place in October 2019 after he resigned from his position in the Qatari company, against the background of obtaining a job offer in a Saudi travel company, adding that one of his former colleagues declared that Bennett’s resignation as a “big insult” to the Qataris.

The newspaper reported that Qatar Airways said it had discovered that Bennett was sending “top secret documents” to a private email address after submitting his resignation and that she had notified the police.

The Qatari authorities did not respond to questions from the newspaper “The Times” in this regard, while the British Foreign Office only said that it provided “assistance to the family of a British man after his death in Doha”.

The newspaper revealed that Qatari authorities had denied access to the center where Bennett was held in 2019 by a United Nations mission investigating human rights abuses in Qatar.

She added that lawyers from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention were in Qatar to inspect prisons and detention centers from November 3 to 14.

According to the newspaper, Bennett was suddenly released on November 2 and checked into a Doha hotel without any documents related to his arrest or any legal proceedings against him.

The group said it had been prevented from visiting a state security detention center after receiving complaints about detentions without judicial supervision and abuse of detainees.

Also, when the team visited some other places of detention, it found these facilities almost empty and received reliable reports of detainees being transferred to other facilities before the UN team arrived.

The newspaper quoted a British businessman who used to work in Qatar as saying “whether you’re a Pakistani worker or a rich Briton, you’ll be treated like rubbish if the boss turns against you.”

“It’s like you’re a slave… you can’t even leave the country for the weekend without your employer’s permission,” he added.

Since winning the honor of hosting the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has come under a lot of criticism, especially regarding the rights of foreign workers.

Doha claims to have made significant improvements in recent years, including introducing a minimum wage and relaxing many aspects of the sponsorship system that gave employers powers over workers’ rights to change jobs and even leave the country. leave

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