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Foreign Affairs ministry not aware of Jamaican's release from Qatar prison

Published:Thursday | July 9, 2015 | 7:18 PM

The Foreign Affairs ministry is disputing reports of the early release of a Jamaican national incarcerated in Qatar.

The Ministry says as far as it knows the Jamaica national remains in custody.

However, it says it anticipates that he will soon be released.

The ministry says once it is notified formally by the Qatari authorities of his release, arrangements will be put in place swiftly for the issue of an emergency travel document, to enable him to depart Qatar.

A news report this week had stated that the ministry had been unaware of the man's release and described the nonchalant attitude of foreign affairs minister, A.J. Nicholson, when asked about it.

However, the ministry has sought to make it clear that whenever Jamaicans are arrested overseas, the policy of the Jamaican Government is to allow the legal processes to run their due course.

In addition, it says it is against the ministry’s policy to reveal the names of nationals arrested or incarcerated overseas or to discuss in the media the charges against them.

It says this information is considered private and is not revealed by the ministry to the public, without the consent of the individual.

It says 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 individual and their next of kin.

The Ministry says it is satisfied that it has discharged its consular duties responsibly in this matter.

The Jamaica national was arrested in Qatar in November 2008 and charged for a serious offence, for which he was found guilty in November 2012 and began serving his five-year sentence in January 2013.