x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Tribal chief flees to Saudi Arabia after Qatar strips 55 of citizenship

Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights, NSHR, has called the move a violation of the 55 former Qatari citizens’ civil rights

Sheikh Taleb bin Lahem bin Shraim has spoken of his outrage after being stripped of his citizenship. EPA.
Sheikh Taleb bin Lahem bin Shraim has spoken of his outrage after being stripped of his citizenship. EPA.

UPDATE: Formal complaint lodged to UN after Qatar strips 55 of citizenship

Qatar has revoked the citizenship of 55 Qataris in what Saudi Arabia has called a violation of civil rights and an inhumane act by Doha.

The head of the Qatari branch of Al Marrah tribe, Sheikh Taleb bin Lahem bin Shraim, said Doha had stripped him of his citizenship along with 54 of his relatives, and forced them to flee to Saudi Arabia.

He blamed the former emir of Qatar, who many think is still in control of the country despite abdicating the throne 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.

Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights, NSHR, has called the move a violation of the 55 former Qatari citizens’ civil rights and added that among those affected are 18 children and many women.

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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.

“My citizenship will return, for me and my family whether the emir of Qatar likes it or not, for both me and the Al Ghufran tribe who also got their citizenships revoked,” said Mr bin Shrain.

The NSHR told the Saudi Press Agency that those from the Al Marrah tribe are now without a home and subject to the same hardships experienced by asylum seekers.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations it was supporting terrorists. Doha denies the accusation.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that talks with Qatar had been suspended and accused Doha of issuing "false reports", just after the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim, called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to initiate dialogue to resolve the dispute.

In 2005, the Qatari government supposedly forced 6,000 members of the Al Ghufran tribe to flee after revoking their citizenship in 2005, according to Spa.

UPDATE: Formal complaint lodged to UN after Qatar strips 55 of citizenship