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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Formal complaint lodged to UN after Qatar strips 55 of citizenship 

The head of the Qatari branch of Al Marrah tribe said Doha had stripped him of his citizenship along with 54 of his relatives

A centre for Arab-European human rights and law formally lodged a complaint to the United Nations on Friday after a tribal chief and 54 of his relatives were stripped of their Qatari citizenship.

Sheikh Taleb bin Lahem bin Shraim, the head of the Qatari branch of Al Marrah tribe, said Doha forced them to flee to Saudi Arabia after he refused to insult Riyadh.

He blamed the former emir of Qatar, who many think is still in control of the country despite his abdication in 2013.

“Hamad bin Khalifa has no right, nor do I owe him anything to be paid in regard to my nationality, I was granted my citizenship from Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah,” he said, referring to the ruler of Qatar before independence in 1960.

“The reason it got revoked was because we refused to insult the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said on a video recorded on his phone.

The Arab-European Centre for Human Rights and International Law in Oslo lodged a complaint to the United Nations against the State of Qatar. It also sent an urgent appeal to the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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It said the actions taken on the Al Morrah tribe was an illegal justification and clear violation of international conventions on the right to citizenship and naturalisation, the offical Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Centre added that in addition to the expulsion, Qatari authorities have confiscated Al Marrah properties and money arbitrarily without any legal basis.

The Saudi government has offered the 55 former Qatari citizens access to Saudi Arabia despite barring entry to Qataris through their country's only land border with the kingdom. Saudi social services have also offered to help them during the proceedings.