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Qatar – Situation of French citizens prevented from leaving the territory of Qatar (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - October 30, 2013)

Q : Some French citizens are being prevented from leaving the territory of Qatar. What is France doing to help them?

R : The French authorities are strongly mobilizing their efforts to help them:

-  Three of them – Mr. Belounis, Mr. Morello and Mr. Awartany – were notably received by President Hollande during his visit to Qatar in June 2013.

-  The ambassador took every opportunityduring meetings with the highest Qatari authorities (notably the prime minister, the Emir’s cabinet and the minister of foreign affairs) to draw their attention to these cases.

We have stepped up our efforts and our actions in an attempt to resolve these cases, which are very different from one another, each of them being unique.

1/ The case involving Mr. Stéphane Morello has been definitively resolved thanks to the embassy’s intervention as of Monday, October 28.

Mr. Morello, who wanted to remain in Qatar, is now free to enter and leave the country thanks to the change in his sponsor, achieved as a result of our continued efforts.

2/ With respect to the case involving Mr. Zahir Belounis, significant progress has been made and it seems to be in its final phase. We hope that Mr. Belounis will be granted his exit visa as swiftly as possible.

We are in regular contact with the prime minister’s cabinet about his case.

Mr. Belounis should be granted his exit visa and his complaint against his sponsor should continue to be heard before the Qatari courts.

3/ The case involving Mr.Awartany is different, since itrelates to a dispute between two business associates.

Since they both filed a complaint against each other, the case was brought before the Qatari courts.

Qatar’s minister of foreign affairs indicated on October 27 to our ambassador that he hoped that a solution could be found quickly so that an exit visa could be granted, while the judicial process is continuing to follow its course in the Qatari courts.

4/ The case involving Mr. Jean-Pierre Marongiu is also different to the other three cases.

He is being prosecuted in relation to various cases; embassy officials have visited him on several occasions in order to offer consular protection as provided for by the Vienna Convention.

During these visits we were able to verify that his health did not appear to be in danger.

His case is due to be heard today; the embassy will attend the hearing and take action to ensure that Mr. Marongiu has a lawyer to defend him.


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