A group of Australians are planning to stage a protest at the World Cup stadium to free Joseph Sarlak, a 72 year old man who has suffered three years in prison and has been left in limbo ever since. His health has deteriorated badly. He has been given endless empty promises, told “any week now, they will sign the release form and you’ll be allowed to go”, but every time he attends with hope, he is left disappointed again.
It seems this has gone on long enough and with the World Cup approaching, supporters plan to stage a protest to support the campaign to #FreeSarlak which could put their own freedom and safety at risk.
Qatar is presenting as a tolerant society, promising world cup visitors they will be treated well and that a blind eye will be turned to prosecutable behaviour, but they have done nothing to show compassion towards foreigners who have already suffered unfair and lengthy detention and human rights violations. “Joe has done his time”, said Radha Stirling of Detained in Doha, “it is only bureaucracy holding him now. The Australian Ambassador and their Qatari counterparts need to get together and allow Joe to finally come home to his family. This would go a long way to showing the humanitarian side of Qatar and his homecoming would be a welcome and timely event.”
Joe Sarlak is in desperate need of medical care which he can not obtain in Qatar. He is a seventy year old man. He’s lost everything he’s worked for and deserves for the Australian government to prioritise his return home.