It was only just two days ago, Wednesday, Sept. 3, that I first learned of the “disappearance” of the two British nationals of Nepalese heritage: Krishna Upadhyaya and Gundev Ghimire. By that time, according to Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), the two Human Rights workers’ employer, it had already been three days since their disappearance.
Following the development of their case closely–of which there hasn’t been much apart from more media coverage (such as the BBC, Doha News, Amnesty International)–I have just discovered that Krishna Upadhyaya is a friend of my good mate Pete Pattisson, who also filed a story with The Guardian.
I don’t pretend to know whether they committed a crime, but I believe in human rights and due process. According to the articles they were, “investigating working conditions of Nepalese migrants in Qatar,” which isn’t anything unusual or new!
If you are like me, please urge the Qatari government to disclose their whereabouts to begin with. (See below for instructions.)
I make this request not only as someone who believes in human rights and due process but also because a friend of friend of mine, is also a friend of mine.
The other reason is that I know full well what such letter writing and public pressure on the Qatari authorities can achieve.
I am free today because of the very public and international campaign initiated by my friends around the world, supported by thousands of others that believed in human rights. I myself was incarcerated in Qatar for allegedly insulting Islam in May 2013.
But, I believe we can make a difference to these two!
Reproduced below is the actions the GNRD publication recommends, which I would encourage everyone and anyone interested in human rights and due process to follow through with.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English, French or your own language:
- Urging the Qatari authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Upadhyaya and Mr. Gundev and to ensure that they are allowed immediate access to their family members, a lawyer of their choice and to any medical treatment they may require;
- Urging the authorities to ensure that they are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment;
- Calling on the Qatari authorities to recognise that labour standards apply to all migrant workers, including the workers carrying out the infrastructural projects in preparation to the football World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 05/09/2014 TO:
Prime Minister and The Minister of State for Interior Affairs
H.E Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Director: Mr. Mohammed Saeed Al Sulaiti
Fax: +974 44241720
Qatar Human Rights Department
Director: Sheikh Khaled Bin Jasem Bin Muhammad Al-Ahmad Al-Thani
Fax: +974 40112717
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Thanks a bunch!
* * * * * * * *
Sept. 5, 4:40 pm Update
Sept. 5, 5:24 pm Update
A YouTube video plea from Ghimire Gundev’s wife:
Sept. 5 Update
Second article in The Guardian by Pete Pattisson: Qatar should not hold World Cup, say relatives of missing human rights workers.
Another article in the Middle East Eye discribing in details the relationship between GNRD and UAE: Fears grow for missing Britons in Qatar amid doubts over UAE-linked rights group.
Sept. 6 Updates
GNRD last night released Good News #FreeKrishna, according to which they have received confirmation via the British authorities that the two are doing fine and that they were, “arrested due to problems with our paperwork.” There’s a loads of questions one can ask about that and the fact that there’s been no official response from the Qatari authorities but those questions can be visited at a later time.
Finally, Ministry of Foreign Affairs admits to arresting the two men almost a week after their disappearance:
Sept. 8 Update
The duo are released: British Human Rights Advocates Released from Police Custody in Qatar.
Sept. 19 Update
Leaves Qatar and posts a Facebook update.
Sept. 24 Update
Krishna discusses details of detention.
Nine days in solitary confinement for “improperly entering Qatar on a tourist visa as well as possessing illegal documents” while the interrogation questions focused on “why he was choosing to focus his research on Nepali workers in Qatar, as opposed to migrant workers in other countries.”
If this had happened anywhere else, my reaction would have been,”What?!” But this happened in Qatar! Need I say more?