In the Qatar, Unable to See the Stars

Jean-Pierre Marongiu is a French entrepreneur who spent five years in prison in Qatar. He has recently written a book about his experiences, entitled InQarcéré.

In the following TV interview Mr. Marongiu talks about what happened to him in Qatar. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Les Observateurs has an article (in French) about Mr. Marongiu’s ordeal.

Video transcript:

00:12   A Zoom dedicated to Qatar. Our guest was detained there as a prisoner for almost
00:16   five years. He published this book: InQarcéré [Incarcerated],
00:20   published by Nouveaux Auteurs. Jean-Pierre Marongiu, good day. —Good day.
00:24   Sir, my first question, my first questions:
00:28   What were you doing in Qatar? Why have you been imprisoned there?
00:33   “Why in the world did he want to get in that galley?”[Molière quote]. I’m an expert
00:37   on management. And internationally recognized. I gave conferences worldwide, and
00:41   Qatar Petroleum came to headhunt me in London and then in Rome, in order for me to create
00:45   in Qatar, in Doha, a center for formation of the Profession of Management. Qatar
00:49   needs specialists and experts. This is the reason why I was there.
00:53   I refused to be subsidized by the State of Qatar, and I created my own
00:58   society Project and System with my own means.
01:02   My life savings went into it. But I really believed in the project. After a couple of successful years,
01:07   the sponsor — since in Qatar the Kafala [sponsorship system for foreign workers]
01:11   is applied and imposes a local partner for the creation of every company… —Kafala?
01:14   I’m sorry, could you specify? —It’s Islamic law, which rules
01:18   the everyday life of all the people who live on Islamist territory. —Ah, OK.
01:22   I say “Islamist”, because between Islam and Islamist
01:26   the difference is so tiny, that… —We will talk about Islam later, you have
01:31   a vision, yes. — So my sponsor, a godfather,
01:35   in French, godfather in the mafia sense of the term, came to see me and said:
01:39   “The success of the company is such that it’s now internationally recognized.
01:43   I wish to integrate it in my group of companies.” Every Qatari —
01:47   and they are very few: 360,000, for a population of 3 million. Well, those
01:52   outside of those 360,000, the remaining three million, are slaves.
01:56   Therefore every Qatari is a sponsor of ten to a hundred
02:00   companies and receives the income from those companies. And he came to tell me,
02:04   this gentleman, who was a member of the royal family: “I’m very interested
02:08   in integrating your company into my group of companies,
02:12   therefore I’m asking you to leave the country.” I thought he was going to buy my company shares
02:16   from me, of which I was the only investor.
02:21   I invested 2,350,000 euros during the six years
02:25   of activity; and he told me: “No, not at all.” He gave me
02:29   one riyal, which is worth about a couple of cents in euros, while telling me,
02:33   “It’s that, or you’ll never leave Qatar, you and your family.”
02:37   And so you were incarcerated.
02:41   In your book you specify: “incarceration by bouncing check”
02:46   By insufficient funds. —Absolutely. I was
02:50   in conference with the Qatar Foundation — the same institution
02:54   that financed Mr. Tariq Ramadan; I think the latest
02:58   book by [Christian] Chesnot and [George] Malbrunot [Qatar Papers] explains it —
03:02   when I received a phone call from my banker saying: “Checks
03:06   are being sent and we have no funds.” In fact the sponsor came by ten minutes earlier
03:10   in order to empty the accounts of all liquidity. And I found myself therefore
03:15   incarcerated, because the checks bounced. —“Twelve counts
03:19   of sentencing are holding me” you said in your book… —Yes. —and you have therefore
03:23   experienced the Qatari Judiciary System. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
03:27   In one word: It’s rather radical. —Yes, in one word it’s very simple:
03:31   There is NO Judicial System in Qatar. The Justice Ministry
03:35   is place under the orders of the Interior Minister —So no separation
03:39   —Absolutely not… —…between judicial authority and the political power? —Exactly.
03:44   And the judge takes orders form the Interior Minister.
03:48   You say: “Voilà, the judge sentences based only on his intuition, voilà, it —…and of his mood
03:53   …justice, the crime, it’s the crime of “ugly face” [which might have displeased to the judge].
03:56   The crime of “ugly face”, the crime of a bad mood,
04:00   It depends on… You have to understand that that files are piled
04:04   on the desks of Qatari judges; the judge is arbitrating
04:09   for twelve minutes per session [per case]; the files accumulate, so
04:13   you could spend years in the process of looking for justice.

5 thoughts on “In the Qatar, Unable to See the Stars

  1. I am completely behind finding alternative sources to uboob but I have yet to have a single vid load on PC or tablet with this new format. I too live in a rural area in which DSL is the only glacial option and I’m sure that is the problem. That being said, a lot of deplorable flyover country suffers the same slow speeds. That leaves your most important demographic, at least in the US, at a loss. This could be by design. Who knows. Make it hard to access (dis)information for the scattered masses and make it easy for the concentrated masses. Whatever the reason bittube isn’t working for this know nothing.

    • Try clicking the link under the video; it will open it on the BitTube site. Some people who have problems with the embeds have found that it works that way.

  2. Try Hughes Net: satellite for the folks out of network reach. You can do internet, live streaming, etc very well. I know a lot of rural folks who swear by it.

  3. Looking forward to the next installments.

    I guess this is a message to all investors in Muslim countries, esp. those who aspire to Islam: operate at your own risk. Your deal with the devil may not turn out as profitable as you thought.

    My opinion is that US companies should be forbidden from owning subsidiaries registered with other countries. You are either a US company or you are not. If you want to take advantage of laws favoring domestic companies, you can choose between putting yourself under the jurisdiction of the US, or put yourself under the jurisdiction of a country like Qatar, but not both through the guise of corporate subsidiaries.

    • … and putting yourself under sharia jurisdiction is a choice best informed. The case of the unfortunate Msr Marongiu is a model to learn by.

      Unusually, or not, (advertising revenue being the lifeblood) – Breitbart UK news site runs rolling adverts calling for would-be investors to Gwador, Pakistan. The “next Dubai”. An image of mecca’s kaaba and its hajj crowds. “buy 2 plots and get a free Umrah trip for 2” exhorts the blurb.
      Alternative images include the visage of their current prime minister, the former national cricket captain.

      Msr Marongiu, however, the former recipient of the Qatari non-existent justice system, may advise you to invest your hard-earned somewhere a bit more westerly. Caveat emptor.

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