Thursday, 8 Dec 2022

Brit hanged in Qatar hotel had been ‘tortured by secret police’ in 3-week ordeal

A British man who was found hanged in a hotel room told his friends he was tortured by Qatar's 'secret police' before his death.

Found dead in the Curve Hotel in Doha on Christmas Day in 2019, Marc Bennett, 52, a travel industry executive, had told his friends before his death that the secret police had detained and tortured him.

Mr Bennett moved to the Gulf in 2012 and was headhunted to become senior vice-president at Discover Qatar, to increase the nation's tourism industry for the 2022 World Cup that begins in November.

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In October 2019, he announced his resignation from the company and was reported to the police under the accusation that he had sent "highly confidential documents" to an external email address.

According to a former colleague, Mr Bennett's resignation was taken as a "massive insult".

The final weeks of his life were marred by the poor treatment he had suffered after his arrest.

Following his arrest at the Qatar Airways Office, he was handcuffed and blindfolded before being transported to a state security detention centre.

Having been released from the detention centre three weeks later, Mr Bennett listed what he had undergone including being stripped of his clothes, sprayed with a high pressure hose and being subjected to methods of sleep deprivation.

His death had been labelled as suicide, but a coroner in the UK said that Mr Bennett showed "no specific evidence of suicidal intent" before his death, adding that "the circumstances of the months leading up to his death remain unclear".

The night before he died, he was on a video call, "laughing and joking" with his wife Nancy and their children and despite his death being ruled a suicide, Mr Bennett did not leave a suicide note.

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A coroner in the UK said that he did not show "specific evidence of suicidal intent" before his death – a sentiment his wife Nancy Bennett shares as she said "There are so many questions [regarding his death]".

"He left here with the whole world ahead of him," she added.

A Qatari official told the Daily Mail: "The State of Qatar categorically denies allegations of mistreatment in its detention facilities. All detainees are treated with respect and dignity in accordance with international standards.

"Qatar regularly opens its detention facilities for inspection from independent human rights observers and international organisations.

"In 2019, Qatar invited a UN Working Group to inspect its facilities, while in the same year, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) conducted 96 independent field visits to facilities across the country."

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