Drug traffickers targeting Qatar

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Qatar has been increasingly targeted by drug traffickers due to its proximity to countries producing and consuming drugs and narcotics, a senior official of the Ministry of Interior said yesterday.

Captain Ibraheem Al Sumaikh, Head of the International Affairs Section at the Drugs Prevention Department of the Ministry, said Qatar had become a transit point as well as a targeted market for drug dealers. Al Sumaikh was addressing a seminar yesterday on ‘International efforts for the prevention of opium’.

He said the presence of a large number of expatriate workers in the country was a factor that facilitated the operations of

drug peddlers.

“The proliferation of drugs is a serious social issue and no country is free from this menace. Qatar has been making immense efforts to combat this danger,” said

Al Sumaikh.

He said the efforts of Qatar were focused on preventing the supply of such substances in the country and reducing demand through awareness and rehabilitation programmes.

One aspect of this strategy is to increase penalties on drug peddlers. However, the users of drugs and narcotics are not considered criminals but instead have been treated as victims. He said the first case of opium peddling was referred to the courts in Qatar in 1968.

The seminar was organised by the Permanent Committee for Drugs and Alcohols Affairs to mark World Drugs Prevention Day, which falls today.

Dr Salih Mahmoud Al Saad, Technical Director of the Arabian Office for Drugs Affairs under the Arab Interior Ministers Council, and Captain Ibraheem Muhammed Al Sumaih, Secretary of the Permanent Committee, presented papers at the seminar.

Brigadier Mubarak Faraj Dhawi, Brigadier Khalifa Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Brigadier Abdul Hadi Dafir Al Hababi and a number of officers from the interior ministry and the permanent committee, and guests attended the programme.

In the seminar, moderated by Dr Muhammed Abdul Aleem, Deputy Executive Director of the Social Rehabilitation Centre, Salih Al Saad spoke about international efforts to combat opium and its derivatives by international, regional and Arab organisations such as the UN Drugs Committee under the UN Social and Financial Council and UN Fund for combating the misuse of drugs.

He also pointed out the efforts made by Arab countries in the field of drugs prevention in general and in combating opium in particular.

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