Qatar's Justice System Scrutinized by U.N.

by TarikA on February 2, 2014 - 4:03pm

The Qatari government has received sharp criticism from a United Nations investigator concerning the state of the justice system in the country, at a press conference on January 26. According to an article written in the New York Times by Rick Gladstone, titled “U.N. Inquiry Criticizes Qatar Justice System”, Gabriel Knaul, the investigator, critiqued the state of the Qatari justice system by pointing out faults, such as “lack of autonomy” for prosecutors and judges and gender imbalance within the judicial system, stating that out of the 198 judges in the country only two are women. Knaul’s U.N. investigation has been motivated by allegations that foreigners have become victim to discrimination from the Qatari justice system, the most notable case being the arrest of an American couple who were alleged to have starved their adopted African daughter to sell her organs, a charge that the couple has vehemently denied for a nearly a year now.

The U.N. inquiry into Qatar’s justice system is a necessary step to take, as the country has repeatedly made headlines for its apparent mistreatment of people on trial. The Qatari government must respect the conditions of the United Nations and take into account the importance that must be relegated upon the principle of due process, as well as insure that a certain level of transparency is present within the confines of the justice system itself. Whether guilty or not, a fair trial is a fundamental right for any person.

It is imperative that we create awareness for the civil liberties that many people have been denied around the world due to the unlawful justice system that they live under. Qatar is not the only country that should face international scrutiny, which is why countries like Pakistan or Somalia should also be more heavily condemned for the unlawful imprisonment and treatment of their citizens.Though it is indeed a difficult task to take, given the fact that religion and culture can sometimes be a contributing factor to differences in the world’s legal systems, it is a welcome step to encourage and support groups, such as Amnesty International, who fight to try and release victims of unlawful imprisonment or legal persecution. 

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