While Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is visiting the UK, enjoying the hospitality of London; two expats are languishing in a Doha jail and may never see England again. Jonathan Nash and Australian cellmate Joseph Sarlak have both been sentenced to what amounts to life imprisonment for nothing more than bounced cheques, a serious crime of which they were both set up.
Both cases are strikingly similar, each was essentially framed by their Qatari business partners and held personally liable for company cheques that could have been paid, but which the companies arbitrarily refused to honour. In other words, their business partners decided to have them jailed.
Both men were denied fair trials, with no chance to defend themselves, no chance to offer evidence or testimony; and their appeals have been scuttled because the partners who framed them have power and influence.
The families of Jonathan and Joseph have appealed to the emir for a pardon, for their sentences to be overturned, or at even reduced, or at least for a review of their cases; but until now, the emir has ignored their pleas.
Detained in Dubai submitted a letter to the Qatar Embassy requesting a review of the many irregularities in the trials of both men, but no response has yet been made.
“The gross injustice of the sentences against Jonathan Nash and Joseph Sarlak cannot be ignored,” says Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Detained in Doha. “Both men contributed years of their lives, offered their knowledge and skills, to companies in Qatar and helped them grow into highly profitable enterprises. Both Jonathan and Joseph hoped to build lives for their families in Doha and were excited by what the country had to offer. They were both ruthlessly deceived by their partners, unfairly prosecuted, and their sentences the very definition of cruel and unusual.
Life sentences are usually reserved for violent criminals, for individuals who pose a threat to society. Jonathan Nash and Joseph Sarlak could not be further from such a description. Life imprisonment for bounced company cheques is even more egregious than the old debtor’s prisons and workhouses not seen in the UK for two centuries. We hope that the emir will take the opportunity of his visit to England to announce their intention to review these cases of injustice and release them from custody.”
Stirling says that Qatar had been on a road to reforms that would have distinguished it from other Gulf countries like the UAE, where people are routinely jailed for bounced cheques and late bill payments, but the Nash and Sarlak cases show that Qatar has taken a wrong turn.
“Jonathan and Joseph are only just surviving. I can hear in their voices the physical and emotional trauma they are experiencing from being jailed for a crime they didn't commit. While they are still hopeful, their will is fading fast and the health of both victims is suffering greatly with Joseph having been hospitalised last week.
“With these shockingly disproportionate and inhumane sentences, Qatar is not only following the same negative path as the UAE, they are on their way to surpassing them in the area of legal abuse.”
The cases are receiving increased media spotlight in both Australia and the United Kingdom and are already serving as a warning to foreign investors and expats. With 2020 fast approaching, Qatar's justice system for tourists will further be spotlighted.
The MailOnline broke Jonathan Nash's story in: EXCLUSIVE - 'I may never see my family again': Brit businessman jailed for 37 years in Qatar for a bounced CHEQUE fears he will die in prison - James Fielding - Daily Mail
- Family appeal as Australian granddad jailed in Qatar for bouncing cheques - Sarah Swain, 9 News Australia
UAE Criminal and Civil Justice Specialists. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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