Practice Relating to Rule 90. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
Qatar’s Constitution (2004) states: “[N]o person may be subjected to torture, or any degrading treatment; and torture shall be considered a crime punishable by law”.
Qatar’s Code of Criminal Procedure (2004) states:
No individual may be arrested or detained except by virtue of a relevant order from competent authorities and in legally defined cases. Said individual should be treated in a manner that preserves human dignity and may not be physically or morally harmed.
Qatar’s Penal Code (2004) states:
Any civil servant who uses torture, force, or threats against a defendant, witness, or expert, or orders such to coerce same to confess a crime, testify or provide information regarding such or to conceal a matter relevant thereto, shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 5 years.
If the action of the civil servant resulted in injury to the victim, the perpetrator shall be imprisoned for 10 years.
If said action resulted in death of the victim, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
In 2005, in its initial report to the UN Committee against Torture, Qatar stated:
45. The use of torture as a policy or instrument of State power is totally prohibited. No State official, be they a civilian or a member of the military, has a licence to commit, or to order others to commit, any act of torture.
46. Likewise, no public official may conceal, authorize or acquiesce in the commission of any form of torture. Any act of torture within the meaning of this Convention shall be deemed illegal under Qatari law. Anyone who commits such an act shall be subject to the criminal penalties prescribed, inter alia, in the Penal Code and other criminal laws.
47. The Islamic sharia totally prohibits acts of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, since such acts are an affront to human dignity, which the religion enjoins us to respect and protect.
48. Since many persons regard acts of torture and closely related practices such as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as some of the most repellent and cruellest forms of physical and mental suffering, and since such acts stir up powerful feelings of resentment and disgust in ordinary individuals, the authors of the Constitution of the State of Qatar made sure to write explicit provisions into the Constitution prohibiting and criminalizing torture. Thus, article 36 of the Constitution stipulates: “No one may be subjected to torture or degrading treatment. Torture is an offence which is punishable by law.”
49. This provision is consistent with article 1 of the Convention, insofar as it makes a distinction between torture and acts of lesser gravity which may constitute degrading or inhuman treatment but do not amount to torture. It is clear, then, that the Constitution devotes a special provision to the prohibition of acts of torture, as a separate category of offence.
55. In addition to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the State of Qatar is also a party to other conventions which completely prohibit acts of torture, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocol I of 1977.
56. Prevailing Qatari legislation prohibits and criminalizes torture and other practices which constitute ill-treatment or harsh punishment. According to the Code of Criminal Procedures, no one may be arrested or detained except by order of the competent authorities and under the conditions specified by law. Everyone must be treated in a manner that preserves his or her human dignity and no one may be subjected to physical or mental harm (art. 40).
63. The Penal Code does not overlook acts which cause harm and pain but do not amount to torture. Public officials are punished for using their official powers to harm individuals (art. 159). The word “harm” includes material, physical and mental harm (art. 189).