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Kenyan activist Malcolm Bidali leaves Qatar – Report

By Amina Wako August 18th, 2021 1 min read

A Kenyan migrant worker and activist who was detained in Qatar on allegations of violating security laws has been allowed to leave the country.

It is not yet clear if Malcolm Bidali is heading back to Kenya or to Jersey, UK, where his mother Maggie Turner resides.

According to Middle East Eye, a London-based news outlet, Mr Bidali was asked to pay a ‘hefty fine’ before leaving the country.

He was arrested after giving a presentation to a gathering of trade unions and civil rights groups on May 4, a coalition of rights groups said in a joint statement at the time.

Using the pseudonym Noah, Mr Bidali would regularly write for Migrant-Rights.Org, detailing the plight of many foreign workers in Qatar as the country prepares for the 2022 World Cup.

He was reportedly taken from his accommodation on the night of May 4 for questioning by the state security service. He was then held incommunicado for three weeks following his arrest on May 4.

He has been working with various organisations to fight for rights of migrant workers in Qatar for the past three years.

Qatari authorities charged Mr Bidali, 28, with offences related to “payments received by a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation”.

After nearly three weeks in custody, Qatari authorities released him, but the charges against him remained.

“Mr Bidali has been formally charged with offences related to payments received by a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation within the State of Qatar,” the government’s communication office, said at the time.

During his detention, Bidali was reportedly held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and had no access to legal representation.