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Posted On: 5 October 2010 10:51 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Qatar urged to sign up to torture convention

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A human rights expert said yesterday that Qatar’s possible entry to an additional torture prevention treaty would be a “boost” towards protecting rights of prisoners in the region. Esther Schaufelberger of the Geneva-based Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) was talking to Gulf Times at the end of a two-day workshop in Doha on the ‘Protection of Prisoners’. The workshop was organised by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in co-operation with the APT, with the participation of some 40 local delegates representing security and interrogation entities. The expert said that the rights of prisoners were not a priority for many in the world and there was a lack of awareness about their rights, “as many consider them the weakest chain in the society”. She said that she found a “sincere interest” among the participants of the seminar to discuss the issue adding that there was a chance to do more in this respect. Schaufelberger said that “after all, the participants of such seminars realise that they represent a state and their behaviour is counted for or against the image of the country”. She praised Qatari authorities for allowing NHRC personnel to visit the prisons for ‘close monitoring’ of the detention centres. She said that torture cannot be called “moderate physical pressure” under any circumstance. “The tendency of governments to change the criteria of torture is very dangerous for humanity.” Schaufelberger said that there was no way for investigators to know that the person they were interrogating was guilty or innocent. “History has proved that many innocent people have been tortured and confessions extracted from them under duress.”