Qatari Sheikh Abdullah hospitalised in Kuwait

Sheikh Abdullah's health deteriorated due to pressure from the UAE authorities, according to his family.

    Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani was seen in a wheelchair after arriving in Kuwait [Al Jazeera]
    Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani was seen in a wheelchair after arriving in Kuwait [Al Jazeera]

    A member of the Qatari royal family, who was allegedly detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been transferred to a hospital shortly after his arrival to Kuwait.

    Sources told Al Jazeera that Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani was seen in a wheelchair when arrived in Kuwait from the UAE.

    Abdullah's brother, Sheikh Khalid, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that his sibling's health deteriorated due to exhaustion and pressure he was exposed to under Emirati authorities. 

    Sheikh Khalid added that his brother is now in stable condition and should be leaving the hospital soon.

    On January 14, Sheikh Abdullah released a video statement, saying he was a "prisoner" in the UAE, and that if anything happened to him, "Sheikh Mohammed" is responsible.

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    While he did not specify, Abdullah appeared to be referring to Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

    "I am currently in Abu Dhabi. I was a guest of Sheikh Mohammed. I am no longer a guest; I am a prisoner," he said in the video, which was widely circulated on social media.

    "They told me not to leave. I am afraid that anything could happen to me, and the people of Qatar would be blamed. So I just wanted to inform you that if anything happens to me, the people of Qatar are innocent," he added.

    Sheikh Abdullah rose to prominence suddenly last summer, when a major diplomatic crisis broke out in the Gulf.

    After Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar in June, Sheikh Abdullah appeared frequently on Saudi and UAE television programmes expressing his views in support of the measures against Doha.

    At an Arab League meeting in Cairo in September, Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi said Saudi Arabia was looking to depose Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and replace him with Sheikh Abdullah.

    Qatar's response

    The UAE's foreign ministry denied that Sheikh Abdullah was being held against his will.

    A statement published by the official Emirati news agency (WAM) cited a source at the ministry as saying that "Qatar's Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani has come as a guest to the UAE, at his own behest".

    "Sheikh Abdullah enjoyed the warm welcome and gracious hospitality during his stay in the UAE, after he was harassed by Qatari Government. The source added that Sheikh Abdullah has had unrestrained mobility and freedom of movement during his stay in the UAE," the statement added.

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    However, Qatar News Agency (QNA) released a statement on Sunday saying Sheikh Abdullah appeared "to be speaking of his detention".

    Lolwa al-Khater, a spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry, said in remarks to QNA that "the State of Qatar is closely monitoring the situation, but due to the total severance of ties with the UAE, it is difficult to clearly establish the circumstances surrounding the situation".

    The National Human Rights Committee in Qatar (NHRC) said in a statement on Tuesday that it received a complaint from Sheikh Abdullah's family about his restriction of movement by the Emirati authorities.

    "The National Human Rights Committee in the State of Qatar affirms the illegality of this measure and its violation of all international and regional human rights conventions, instruments and understandings," the statement said.

    "It holds the Emirati authorities responsible for the safety and security of this Qatari citizen and demands his immediate release."

    The group also called on the international community and NGOs to intervene and ensure the safety and release of Sheikh Abdullah, as well as hold the Emirati authorities responsible for the violation.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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