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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Qatari forces seize property of royal family member

Second move against those voicing opposition within a week

It is the second time that Qatar forces have moved against a member of the royal family who has voiced opposition to the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, pictured here. EPA/STR Malaysia Out
It is the second time that Qatar forces have moved against a member of the royal family who has voiced opposition to the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, pictured here. EPA/STR Malaysia Out

Qatari security forces have moved against a second member of the royal family who has voiced opposition to the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.

Late Monday night, it was revealed that the palace and assets of Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani had been seized. Sheikh Sultan came out in support of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani’s call for a national meeting of Qataris to deal with the ongoing Qatar crisis. Sheikh Abdullah’s assets were frozen by the Qatari governments on Saturday.

According to Sky News Arabia, Sheikh Sultan’s palace in Doha was attacked last Thursday as state security forces ‘assaulted workers there and took important documents’. The Arabic news channel referenced unnamed sources, stating that ‘the palace of Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani in Doha was broken into last Thursday night by an armed unit from state security forces’. Personal documents were seized and bank accounts were frozen, according to the news report.

Sheikh Suhaim had spoken out last month against the government in Doha, in support of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali’s calls to reassess Qatari leadership. Similar moves to seize Sheikh Abdullah’s assets were made last Saturday.

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Sheikh Abdullah currently resides in Saudi Arabia, and has said he would like to mediate to help end the Qatar crisis. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have boycotted Qatar and called out its leadership for its support for militant and extremists groups.

On Saturday, Sheikh Abduallah bin Ali Al Thani tweeted ‘The Qatari regime has honoured me by freezing all my bank accounts’.

Sheikh Abdullah belongs to a branch of the Al Thani royal family, which has seen its power eroded but is still well-connected. "I wish Qatar … to return to its Gulf brothers as there is no one else to count on," he tweeted.

Sheikh Abdullah’s grandfather, father, and brother were all rulers of Qatar and had wide following.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali, Sheikh Abdullah’s half-brother, was toppled by Emir Tamim’s grandfather, Khalifa bin Hamad. The Qatari palace witnessed another coup when Sheikh Hamad, his son, ousted the now deceased ruler ending his 23-year rule.

The sheikh left his post as the founder and chairman of the Qatar Equestrian Foundation in 1988 and has lived in Saudi Arabia for decades.