Proposal to extend detention time stirs up debate in Qatar

June 8, 2011
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A suggestion by Qatar’s interior ministry to extend the detention without trial of people suspected of posing grave threats to social peace and stability has stirred hot debates within the Qatari media and blogosphere.

The current law gives the interior minister the right to detain a suspect for six months without trial.
The ministry has proposed that the law be amended and the duration of a suspect’s detention be extended to two years and possibly to a third year upon the recommendation of the prime minister. However, the suggestion was rejected by the Advisory Council.

Faisal Mohammad Al Marzouki, a columnist for Al Arab newspaper, wrote that he favoured the state being conferred “absolute powers” to detain a suspect without trial on the grounds of its support for the Arab spring, Qatari daily The Peninsulareported on Wednesday.

Al Marzouki argued that there could be opposition to the state’s support for reforms taking place in some Arab countries and the government needed to be armed with special authority to deal with such situations.

However, other columnists and several bloggers writing on the issue in social networking sites, said they were opposed to the idea of the state enjoying absolute powers, arguing it would mean undermining the authority of the judiciary.

Mohammad Fahd Al Qah’tani, a columnist for Al Arab, said that “giving the state this right would be a violation of the Qatari Constitution which backs separation of the powers of the executive and the judiciary.”

Mohammad Al Khulaifi, another columnist, wrote that it was in violation of the very spirit of the Qatari Constitution that guaranteed an independent judiciary.

“The Minister of Interior is not a judge,” Al Khulaifi wrote.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/proposal-to-extend-detention-time-stirs-up-debate-in-qatar-1.818927

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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