Qatar…From Afar: The Timeline

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A little over two months ago, a minor incident in the cafeteria with a few students set in motion a chain of events.

I was working at Qatar Academy in Doha, Qatar, at the time. Following that incident, not only did I lose my job, I was jailed for 12 days. I would have been incarcerated for much longer had friends, former students and others around the world not launched a massive international campaign to secure my freedom.

The series of posts headed “Qatar…From Afar” will detail different aspects of the events.

To be sure, there is a lot to be said about the events, but, to put the record straight to begin with, I thought I would start with the timeline. (Pretty much all media reports got this wrong.)

Monday, April 15 Sit-down conversation with the students in the cafeteria during lunch break.
Tuesday, April 16 The incident takes place in the cafeteria during lunch break.
Wednesday, April 17 First meeting with the administrators (principal and vice-principal) and informed that parents had filed complaints, directly with the director, alleging that I had insulted Islam.Asked to file my version of the incident.
Thursday, April 18 Filed my version of the incident, followed by yet another meeting with the administrators in the morning.At the end of the meeting asked to go home until further notice.
Sunday, April 21 Asked to come in to school at 1:30 pm for the first meeting with the director (in the presence of the principal).Informed of the school’s decision to recommend the board for dismissal.Informed of loss of five-month equivalent of salary.
Thursday, April 25 Second meeting with director and another administrator.Informed of the board’s decision for dismissal.In consultation with the Director and the administrator, preparation for departure begun and the flight date set for Friday, May 3.
Tuesday, April 30 Informed exit visa and the necessary paperwork for departure, supposed to have been ready by 1 pm, was not ready.
Wednesday, May 1 Around 9:30 am, call receivedfromAlRayyan police station “Captain.”Approximately hour-long interrogation at the police station ends at 12:20.Left alone in the interrogation room (with electronic locks) until 3:00 pm and then, after surrendering everything in my possession, including my belt, jailed for allegedly insulting Islam.
Thursday, May 2 Taken down to Public Prosecution’s office in hand cuffs.
Sunday, May 5 Second trip to the Public Prosecution’s office, again in hand cuffs.Court date set for Thursday, May 9.Informed for the first time could spend 5 years in prison.
Thursday, May 9 First court appearance.Informed of Doha News coverage of the incident.Given 2 weeks before the next court appearance.
Sunday, May 12 Released from prison in the afternoon.
Monday, May 13 Picked up “release papers,” then (exchanged it for) exit visa and passport in the morning.Departed for Kathmandu, Nepal in the afternoon.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Dorje, I have been following both your ordeal in Quatar and your efforts since. In fact, I used your example to show my son something I am constantly telling him: you can always choose to use a negative experience to launch a positive action. Keep going, and best of luck with your efforts to improve education in Nepal. I also of course hope fervently that the increasing exposure of human rights abuses in places such as Qatar will build and build until it forces change.

    Take care.

    1. Dear Nadia, Thank you for your encouragement. I hope to make some difference to the lives of the next generation of Nepalese in spite of all the obstacles and hurdles of working in the country.

  2. I am so sorry to hear this. I have been following this story, as my child goes to Primary School there and this year she has experienced bullying from the age of 8 from Qataris……they are not all the same, but the % of incidents like this at QA has always been too high. I am so glad you’re now in Nepal, however, very bad of QA not to give you the 5 remaining months of salary, even more after showing that these kids were bullying the professor. Absurd and very very unfair

    1. Dear Mimi, I am sorry to hear of you child’s troubles at QA. Here’s hoping that things will improve for her.

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