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KHRC calls for release of a Kenyan security guard arrested in Qatar

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- The Kenya Human Rights Commission has called for the release of a Kenyan security guard employed in Qatar where he is being detained on accusations of violating the country’s security laws and regulations.

Malcom Bidali is a famous blogger and activist, who has not shied away from highlighting cases of human rights abuses affecting migrant workers in Qatar was arrested on May 4.

On Friday, KHRC said Bidali was arrested a few days after he spoke to civil society groups about the poor working and living conditions for migrant workers.

“The Qatari authorities must also guarantee his safety and security under Qatar and international laws. Specifically, the right to be protected from torture, ill-treatment and right to access justice and a fair trial must be guaranteed. Finally and in the absence of his expeditious arraignment in a court of law, we demand his immediate and unconditional release,” KHRC said in a statement on Friday.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kenya was yet to respond for a request for comment on this story.

“He has been on the front line fighting to reform Qatar’s labour laws by sharing his own experiences as a migrant worker in the country,” he said.
According to the lobby group, the Qatari authorities remain noncommittal whether the Kenyan national is in their custody, to the anguish of his family and friends, now worried for his safety.

KHRC is now calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

“The issues that Bidali has been raising through social media are in the public domain, so it is preposterous for the authorities to pick on him. In 2017, Human Rights Watch made a series of recommendations in relation to migrant worker deaths and called upon the Qatari authorities to release data, conduct investigations, reform laws to protect workers from heat and perform autopsies,” the right group said.

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“None of these recommendations have ever been implemented. Two years later in June 2019, FairSquare asked FIFA to call publicly on the Qatari authorities to commission an independent investigation into worker deaths,” they said.

There are several similar cases of Kenyans being held by authorities in Qatar. Others have lost their lives while there.

Global calls for a review of labour laws in the country have bore little or no fruits.

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