Even if human rights in Qatar have improved since Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani seized power in 1995, they are not considered as good by international organizations. The main concerns relate to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly as well as the precarious situation of migrant workers.
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The Qatari poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, a third-year literature student at Cairo University, was arrested on 16 November 2011 in Doha on charges of insulting the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and for inciting to overthrow the ruling regime. The latter carries a maximum sentence of death. Al-Ajami was originally jailed for life, but the sentence was reduced to 15 years on appeal. However, he was released after receiving a royal pardon from the Emir himself on 15 March 2016.
In 2000, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Missnad established Qatar Women’s Sport Committee (QWSC). The QWSC’s objective is to improve women’s performance in sports, enhance their participation in various sporting events, sessions and conferences at home and abroad, and improve their administrative and technical capacities.
A decade later, in 2015, Algeria is witnessing a surge in nikah al-misyar, or traveller’s marriage. Imported from Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt via the Gulf states, it is now finding its way into educated Algerian society, particularly academia. An al-misyar marriage is a religiously permitted form of marriage contract to which a man and a woman agree in the presence of two witnesses.
Although all the Gulf countries officially welcomed the deal, the positions of their governments varied significantly. Official statements showed that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are the most worried about the consequences of the nuclear deal. Qatar also has concerns but to a lesser degree. The United Arab Emirates and Oman were the two Gulf countries most welcoming of the deal, followed by Kuwait.