- The Ministry notes the news reports of the early release of a Jamaican national incarcerated in Qatar. Nevertheless, the Ministry can confirm that up to today, 9th July 2015 the Jamaican national remained in custody.
- The Ministry understands that there is provision in the Qatari legal system for the remission of three months sentence for each year to be served.
- At the end of June 2015, he would have spent a total of 45 months (3 years and 9 months) in detention of his five-year sentence.
- The Ministry anticipates, therefore, that he will in fact soon be released.
- Once the Ministry is notified formally by the Qatari authorities of the release of the Jamaican national, arrangements will be put in place swiftly for the issue of an emergency travel document, as necessary, to enable the Jamaican national to depart Qatar. The Ministry is in close contact with the Qatari authorities in this regard.
Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
- Whenever Jamaican nationals are arrested and/or held in custody overseas, the policy of the Government of Jamaica is to allow the legal processes to run their due course.
- It is not the policy of the Ministry to intervene in the judicial processes of other countries or to publicly impugn the integrity of these processes without authoritative justification.
- It is not the policy of the Ministry to reveal the names of nationals arrested and/or incarcerated overseas or to discuss in the media the charges against them. This information is considered private and is not revealed by the Ministry to the public, without the express consent of the individual.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade does not presume to make a judgement as to the guilt or innocence of any Jamaican national. The Ministry understands that others may choose to offer opinions in that regard.
- The role of our overseas Missions in these circumstances is to attend to the welfare of the concerned individual, maintain contact where possible, give general advice with regards to securing good legal representation and facilitate communication between the concerned individual and his or her next of kin.
- The Ministry is satisfied that it has discharged its consular duties responsibly, through the following actions in the particular case:
- Three Consular visits (including one by the Ambassador, resident in Kuwait);
- Regular phone calls to the national concerned, his lawyers, prison authorities, doctors, his friends and family;
- The formal submission of appeals for pardon and early release;
- Meetings between Embassy officials and Qatari officials, including the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Public Prosecution Office, prison officials and lawyers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade reiterates the facts surrounding the conviction and incarceration of the Jamaican national in Qatar and re-states the facts as follows:
- The Jamaican national was arrested in Qatar in November 2008 and charged for a serious offence.
- He was first taken into custody on 17th November 2008 and was released on bail on 25th March 2010.
- He was found guilty by the Primary Court (court of first instance) in November 2012 and sentenced to five (5) years imprisonment, to be followed by deportation.
- Following his conviction on 28th November 2012, he was taken into custody in January 2013 to begin his custodial sentence.
- He filed an appeal.
- His conviction was upheld by the Appeal Court in April 2013.
- A further appeal to the Court of Cassation (final Court) was denied in December 2013.