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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Qatar emir 'jailed 20 relatives' 

French businessman tells Le Point magazine that he had met the relatives inside a Qatari prison

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, speaks at a press conference with Angela Merkel. EPA/Felipe Trueba
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, speaks at a press conference with Angela Merkel. EPA/Felipe Trueba

The emir of Qatar sentenced 20 of his relatives from a branch of the Al Thani family to jail over their support for a boycott of Doha, according to a French magazine.

Businessman Jean-Pierre Marongiu, who lives in Qatar and heads the board of a French company, told Le Point magazine that he had met the relatives inside a Qatari prison where he has been in jail for the last four years over allegations of issuing bad checks.

"About 20 people. In my block, there are six," he said, referring to the number of prisoners of the Qatari royal family.

The prisoner gave the names of four of the Al Thani members in prison but would not mention the names of all 20 “for fear of reprisal.” The named sheikhs all came from the Bin Ali side of the family.

They are all relatives of the former ruler of Qatar, Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani, who was overthrown in a bloodless coup in 1972 by Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, the current ruler's grandfather.

Just weeks before Haj, another member of the Bin Ali family branch began gaining favour in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom, along with Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have cut diplomatic, trade and travel connections with Qatar over it's support of terror groups.

Qatar's Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held discussions in August, which were widely seen as the reason behind why Saudi Arabia allowed Qatari pilgrims into the kingdom despite the boycott.

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Read more:

Exiled Qatari businessman says current emir 'distant from citizenry'

UAE ambassador to US says Qatari Emir not 'fully in charge'

Riyadh opens land border and airports to Qatar pilgrims

Qatar crisis: What you need to know

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Since then, Sheikh Abdullah became a frequent guest of the Saudi royal court quickly elevating the royal’s status as an integral figure in the three-month old crisis.

According to the French businessman, some of the members of the Bin Ali side of the royal family were already imprisoned before the quartet of countries severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar.

However, since June 5, 2017, arrests have multiplied.

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