Prominent Emirati rights activist Alaa Al-Siddiq 'to be buried in Qatar'

Prominent Emirati rights activist Alaa Al-Siddiq 'to be buried in Qatar'
3 min read
26 June, 2021
Alaa al-Siddiq, who died in a car crash in the United Kingdom last week, will be laid to rest in Qatar on Sunday, according to reports.
Al-Siddiq died after celebrating her 33rd birthday [ALQST]

Prominent Emirati dissident Alaa al-Siddiq will be buried in the Qatari capital on Sunday evening, reports confirmed.

The young Emirati woman, who headed a London-based activist group that probes human rights abuses by Gulf states, died in a car crash near London last week following a dinner to celebrate her birthday.

Local reports have confirmed that the 33-year-old daughter of an Emirati political prisoner and the executive director of the prominent group ALQST will be laid to rest in Qatar, where she had previously sought political asylum.

“Our daughter Alaa al-Siddiq may God have mercy on her soul left from her exile in London this morning and is heading to her family in Qatar, her final resting place,” Emirati writer Ahmad Al Shaibah Al Nuaimi tweeted on Saturday.

Al-Siddiq is expected to be buried at the Meisameer cemetery in Doha on Sunday evening after Maghrib [sunset] prayers, another post confirmed.

Shortly following her arrest, campaigners called on Britain to investigate the death of the young Emirati woman, who had gained popularity for her activism in support of political prisoners in the Gulf region, including her own father.

"We need UK authorities to reassure us that no foul play was involved, given the Emirati and Saudi government's record of surveilling, targeting and harassing activists and their families abroad," Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement on Sunday.

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Whitson is a board member of ALQST and the executive director of DAWN, a US-based campaign group founded by Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist murdered in 2018 inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul.

ALQST said it had "found no suggestion of foul play" after looking into the fatal crash.

"The police have taken a similar view and will be publishing the outcome of their investigations once they are complete," ALQST said on Twitter.

Khalid Ibrahim, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, also called for a thorough police investigation, saying "Alaa was at risk all the time".

"We work in a very hostile environment and such governments as those in the Gulf, are using surveillance technology to hack into our accounts," Ibrahim told Britain's Telegraph newspaper.

"We all know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi."

Exiled in Britain for over a decade, Alaa is the daughter of Emirati activist Mohammed al-Siddiq, who DAWN said has been detained in the United Arab Emirates since 2012.

DAWN urged Emirati authorities to release her father and allow the repatriation of her body to the UAE for an Islamic burial in her hometown, however this request was rejected, according to local Doha News.

Al-Siddiq has sought political asylum in Qatar back in 2012, fleeing a major Emirati crackdown on activists in the same year.

"Like so many hundreds of thousands Arab democracy exiles, Alaa al-Siddiq's exile in the UK was a direct consequence of her government's repression," Whitson said.

According to the Doha News report, al-Siddiq's asylum in Qatar and the subsequent refusal by authorities to extradite her back to the UAE caused a major dispute between the two states in 2015, just years ahead of the 2017 Gulf crisis.