Qatar PM sues editors over controversial report

January 3, 2012

Qatar’s prime minister is suing four Kuwaitis, including two editors-in-chief, for libel over claims he gave 200 million riyals ($54,832,100) to a former opposition lawmaker, the Al Aan news portal has reported.

Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani is taking legal action against ex-MP Saadoon Hamad, Shaikh Sabah Al Mohammad, the editor-in-chief of Al Shahed newspaper, Shaikh Khalifa Ali Al Khalifa, the editor-in-chief of Al Watan daily and Othman Al Saeed, a presenter with Scoop channel, the lawyer for the Qatari prime minister, said Mushari Al Aseemi.

The suit was prompted by the publication in December of an article claiming that Shaikh Hamad, who is also Qatar’s foreign minister, gave the amount to former MP Mosallam Al Barrak. A copy of the alleged cheque was also published with only the first name of the beneficiary appearing.

However, the bank that allegedly issued the cheque denied its existence and insisted that no cheque was signed by Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassem in favour of a person called Mosallam.

Al Barrak also denied the newspaper report and said he had no bank account in Doha. He added that his name on the alleged cheque was spelled “Mussalam” while it was typed “Mosallam” in his passport.

Passport names are used to open bank accounts in the Gulf. Kuwait last year was rocked by a financial scandal after several former lawmakers were investigated by the public prosecution for allegedly receiving huge amounts of money to influence their voting.

The scandal broke out after local banks alerted the central bank to the unusually large funds that had been deposited into the bank accounts of 13 members of parliament. The opposition used the trust crisis to pile up pressure on the government of Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad to step down.

The government resigned on November 28 and the parliament was dissolved on December 6. National elections to choose the 50 members will be held on February 2, with around 400,000 eligible to cast their ballots.




About the author

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

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