Malcom Bidali, a Kenyan citizen working in Doha Qatar’s has been charged with blogging with intent of spreading malicious information against the gulf country.
He has been accused of getting paid to spread disinformation regarding the working conditions of foreign employees.
The 28-year-old security guard has been in custody for close to a month now after authorities arrested him for violating Qatar’s security laws and regulations”,
In a statement, Qatar’s Government Communication Office (GCO) said that Bidali had been formally charged with offences relating to payments he received from a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation within the State of Qatar.
“Following a thorough investigation by the authorities, the case of Mr Malcolm Bidali has been transferred to Qatar Public Prosecution. Mr Badali is receiving legal advice and representation ahead of the court date, which has not yet been set,” the government statement said.
In just a year, he not only wrote an amazing series for MR, he also started using his personal social media accounts to draw attention to the plight of migrant workers in Qatar
— Migrant Rights (@MigrantRights) May 31, 2021
It is alleged that Bidali has been blogging under a pseudonym, Noah, where he has been exposing poor working conditions, long working hours, unsuitable accommodation, among other issues.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, a Migrant-Rights.Org spokesperson said Bidali who moved to Qatar in 2016, had been blogging for them for at least a year before his arrest.
“He was keen to help other workers in distress, especially during the pandemic,” said the human rights spokesperson.
On Friday, rights groups, including Amnesty International, said that the accused spoke to his mother on May 20 complaining that he was being held in solitary confinement and had no access to a lawyer.
But Qatar’s official National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said Bidali “was being treated properly”.
The NHRC added staff from the Kenyan embassy visited him and he had contact with his family and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
According to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya tops in the number of Africans working in the country followed by Nigeria.
The number of Kenyans working in Qatar is estimated at 30,000 to 50,000 or one per cent of the country’s population.