A court in Qatar on Dec. 15 sentenced former World Cup 2022 employee Abdullah Ibhais, who spoke about migrant workers’ rights, to three years in jail on charges of misappropriating state funds and bribery.
Ibhais lost his appeal against a controversial jail sentence, which was initially for five years, after he raised concerns over striking migrant workers who had gone unpaid.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, where Ibhais worked as a media manager, dismissed the allegations that the case was linked to Ibhais’ views on migrant workers as “ludicrous, defamatory, and absolutely false.”
The Committee was responsible for overseeing preparations for the international football competition.
Human rights groups FairSquare and Human Rights Watch condemned the Dec. 15 ruling and warned of “serious issues.”
“This case goes to the heart of the serious issues with Qatar’s World Cup and every day Abdullah Ibhais remains in jail more people will know his name, know what he did for the migrant workers who built Qatar’s World Cup, and know the price he has apparently paid for that,” FairSquare said.
FairSquare added that the “silence” of the football’s world governing organization FIFA “enabled” the verdict.
A FIFA spokesperson said that it would “consider today’s ruling before making any further comment.”
Ibhais is currently on a hunger strike.
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