Prison bars

Return Joseph Sarlak from detention in Qatar

Amnesty International Australia calls On Government to help return seriously ill Australian citizen Joseph Sarlak from detention in Qatar

Amnesty International Australia today called on Foreign Minister Marise Payne to make representations to the Qatari government to return seriously ill citizen Joseph Sarlak from detention.

Mr Sarlak suffers from several serious health conditions and has been detained in Doha since 2016 over a business deal gone bad.

“Mr Sarlak has been languishing in jail because he does not have a visa to leave the country – something the Australian government could very easily remedy,” Amnesty International Australia campaigner Tim O’Connor said.

“His family has grave concerns about his health as he suffers from heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and arthritis, and they want him returned home as soon as possible.”

Mr Sarlak was initially detained due to allegations of bad cheques being passed in contravention of local laws relating to foreign business. However, his lawyer Radha Stirling says this issue has now been resolved and his continued detention is “purely administrative”. 

“For three years, Australian citizen Joseph Sarlak has been needlessly detained in Qatar, with almost no help from the Australian government,”Stirling said.

“Now, the farcical criminal case is resolved, but Joe is still not free, and the government is still failing to secure his freedom. He is being kept in a miserable immigration holding cell in Doha, with a lingering travel ban that prevents him from going home, and an expired visa that prevents him from being released in Qatar. 

“He is elderly, unwell, and has already suffered for years. We are calling upon the Australian government to intervene. Joe’s health is deteriorating, and the conditions in which he is being held are unbearable. Enough is enough; Qatar needs to finally let Joe go home.”

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