Qatar is the totalitarian state behind Al Jazeera. It is closely entangled with Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups which is why Obama used it to arrange the Bergdahl deal.
This story is also a reminder of why non-Muslims and foreigners should be wary of traveling to Qatar.
The ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar told Al Arabiya News on Friday that there are allegations of torture against three Filipinos being held in the Gulf state on espionage charges.
One man was sentenced to death and two to life in in prison this week after they were indicted of leaking information that could threaten the tiny rich state’s national security.
“All allegations of torture were relayed to Qatari officials, such as the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General and the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, all of whom promised to look into the matter,” the ambassador said.
He noted that the torture allegations were also raised in the lower court by the defense lawyer, “who argued that, in view of torture, their confessions were obtained involuntarily.”
“However, the court did not appreciate said fact,” Ambassador Relacion said.
According to the Qatari authorities, the Filipino pastors were spying on its military. Considering that that the Philippines and Qatar don’t exactly share a border or common military concerns and that Qatar’s military largely consists of princelings smuggling American weapons to Jihadists, that’s not a terribly convincing claim.
The Doha News said the three were charged of providing information “to intelligence officials in the Philippines about Qatar’s aircrafts, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, as well as specific details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.”
The main defendant, the report said, allegedly received millions of riyals in exchange for spying services.
“He’s also alleged to have provided maps, internal reports and classified information about the Qatari Air Force base to Filipino officials, as well as recruiting the other two defendants, who worked in the engineering department of the first man’s company and were technicians at the air force base,” the report said.
This is the type of information that the UAE or the Saudis might be interested, not the Philippines.
So what is this really about? There are two intersecting possibilities.
The 3 Filipinos are pastors at a born-again church in Qatar.
According to 3 pastors of the church’s affiliate in the Philippines, they were also arrested with the 3 Filipinos in Qatar in 2010.
The pastors said there was a change in administration at Qatar Petroleum, and an investigation was being done. Since the Filipinos were close to the head of the company, who was about to be removed, they were also investigated.
According to the pastors, other members of the born-again church also experienced torture during interrorgation.
Qatar, like every totalitarian petrostate, is notoriously corrupt and its princelings blame their crimes on foreigners. It certainly didn’t help that the foreigners were not only Christians, but pastors.
Six of the detained Filipinos are bona-fide members of The Lord’s Hand Ministries, established in the Philippines in 1993 with principal church-office at 14 T. Concepcion Street, Marulas Valenzuela City, with satellites and churches in several cities, provinces and abroad, including one in Doha, Qatar.
Apilado went to Doha, Qatar, on March 5 for the purpose of visiting the church in Doha, to hold church trainings and to celebrate the anniversary of the church. He was also there to give spiritual-moral support and to encourage one of the church leaders, Abdallah Yousef Chua, who was so discouraged at that time owing to company-related problems.
According to the witnesses, on the dawn of March 28, between 1 and 2 a.m., people who identified themselves as Doha policemen barged in by destroying the front door of the villa where Apilado and other members of the church were staying.
The men arrested Chua, Domel Perez and Apilado. The detailed report of the incident was submitted immediately by their families to the Philippine Embassy to Qatar.
The three were allegedly detained in a safe house for almost a month. After the three’s arrest, other Filipinos were also picked up on different occasions for questioning and were likewise detained. The other Filipinos who were arrested include Ronald Ulep, Rafael Alamares, Renie Magcosta, Abner Penaranda, Boyet Salvosa and a certain Ibrahim.
Chua was apparently a Muslim who converted to Christianity. He was not a Qatari, but his presence was a likely lightning rod.
Qatar is PR savvy enough not to hold a blasphemy trial, but it just does the same thing under the guise of national security.