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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

'Justice' for pensioner in Qatar Embassy race discrimination case

Mohamoud Ahmed was found to have been racially discriminated against by Qatari diplomat Abdullah Al Ansari

Mohamoud Ahmed, former employee of the Qatar Embassy in London. Pete Maclaine / i-Images
Mohamoud Ahmed, former employee of the Qatar Embassy in London. Pete Maclaine / i-Images

A man was racially discriminated against and harassed by a diplomat while working at the Qatar embassy in London, an employment tribunal found on Thursday.

In one of the first cases to be heard against an embassy in the UK, the panel awarded £8,000 to Mohamoud Ahmed, 79, who worked as a night security officer at the diplomatic mission in Mayfair.

Judge Joanna Wade found that Somalian-born Mr Ahmed was called an “Abd” (meaning black slave in Arabic), a donkey, a dog and was pushed by the embassy’s medical attache Abudullah Al Ansari during an incident in August 2013.

Mr Ansari then dismissed Mr Ahmed on the basis of his race, the judge said.

“The second respondent’s [Mr Al Ansari] behaviour was motivated by a race-related scorn. He valued the claimant so little because of his race,” Ms Wade said in her ruling.

The decision followed a shocking turn events the day before when Mr Al Ansari instructed his legal team to withdraw from the proceedings immediately, just one day after he gave evidence at the tribunal.

In a statement read out by the judge, solicitors acting for Mr Al Ansari and the Qatari embassy said they considered that proceedings were “incompatible with the dignity and privileges of its diplomatic personnel”.

But Ms Wade said Mr Al Ansari had behaved in an “imperious way” while giving evidence and failed to properly answer questions he was asked.

Mr Ahmed will seek further damages including costs, loss of earnings and damages for the personal injury he suffered at a remedy hearing scheduled for June.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Ahmed’s son Rashid described Mr Al Ansari as a “coward” for withdrawing from the proceedings.

“Justice has finally been served,” he told The National.

Mr Ahmed was unable to have his case heard for years because the Qatari embassy had tried to claim diplomatic immunity.

But a 2017 Supreme Court judgment ruled that claiming immunity from employment laws was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, allowing Mr Ahmed to have his case heard.

The State Immunity Act would need to be amended for Mr Ahmed to bring an unfair dismissal claim but he intends to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“After all these years of waiting Mr Ahmed finally has the outcome he has been waiting for,” said Rachel Lester, his solicitor.

“But it is only the start of the journey because he will now have to go to Strasbourg for the unfair dismissal claim.”

Updated: March 15, 2019 03:44 AM

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