Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Qatar

Qatari security services maintained tight control over immigration and effective monitoring of possible extremist events. While counterterrorism cooperation remained positive, the United States continued to strive for increased cooperation with the Qatari government on information sharing and political engagement.

There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005, suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack at an amateur theater playhouse that killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities continued to improve during and after the course of the investigation of this case. Press reports indicated that up to 19 people of various nationalities, including one Qatari, were apprehended during the ensuing investigation. There were no reports of criminal prosecution in the case; however, many of the third country nationals who were apprehended were deported subsequent to the investigation.

The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities is responsible for overseeing all domestic and international charitable activities, including approving international fund transfers by charities and monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects. The Authority reports annually to Qatari government ministries on their status.

Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism finance continued to develop. Qatar's Financial Information Unit resides in the Qatar Central Bank. Local banks worked with the Central Bank and the FIU on counterterrorism finance and anti-money laundering issues, and bank officials attended U.S.-sponsored conferences.

As of December 2007, Qatar was the only country in the Gulf with an Attorney General (AG) independent of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Justice, and equivalent to a ministerial level position. The AG independently controlled and oversaw public prosecutions and appointed attorneys within the Public Prosecutors Office. The AG's office was created in 2002 and maintains a National Security Office responsible for prosecutions under the 2004 Combating Terrorism Law. Prior to the creation of a separate AG office, the majority of public prosecutors were senior police officers, not trained lawyers.

Qatar was the only Gulf country with a public prosecutor exchange program with the U.S. Department of Justice. In November, six Qatari attorneys from the Public Prosecutors' office attended a two-week exchange; one week was spent studying financial crimes at the Public Prosecutors Training Academy Federal Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the second week was devoted to shadowing U.S. federal attorneys in Boston and New Hampshire.

As of mid-December, Qatar and the United States were discussing a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding judicial assistance and cooperation between the two nations. The MoU would allow both nations to strengthen judicial cooperation and to exchange evidence and information for use in prosecutions.

The USG has provided law enforcement and counterterrorism training under various programs, including the State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. The exchanges and training have had a positive effect in maintaining a good relationship with Qatari law enforcement agencies and increasing their ability to deter, disrupt, and defeat terrorist activity in Qatar. Operationally, however, this capability has yet to be fully tried, tested, or proven.


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