Abdullah and the Spin Machine:

How a whistleblower exposed the dark truth of Qatar’s World Cup.

By Nicholas McGeehan

The last messages from Abdullah Ibhais arrived at 04:45. “Police came to take me. They are taking me to prison now.” He managed to call one of his interlocutors, the German journalist Benjamin Best, but by the time others awoke, Abdullah had gone. He had managed to stay at liberty for nearly four weeks after he went public with his allegations against his former employers’, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. His claims, published in Josimar, were explosive – that the Supreme Committee had covered up their involvement in migrant worker abuses, and then instigated a malicious prosecution against him after he took an internal stand on the issue – and he had a trove of documentation to back up his allegations, only some of which have been published. That’s probably why they came for him, to shut him up, although Abdullah’s arrest could have come at any time, given that he had a 5-year prison sentence hanging over him for what he says were trumped-up bribery charges. In December 2021, exactly one month after he was taken from his home and his wife and two young sons, Qatar’s court of appeal upheld his conviction. The sentence was reduced, without explanation, to three years.

It is, of course, fascinating to speculate on why he did what he did, and to delve into the bizarre details of the Supreme Committee’s internal investigation, and the absurd court judgments, and the contradictory witness statements, but all that this will tell you is that Abdul...

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