MPs enjoyed five-star £160,000 junket to Qatar as women’s rights activist disappeared 


MPs enjoyed five-star £160,000 junket to Qatar as women’s rights activist disappeared

  • MPs on a five-star trip to Qatar in the same week that Noof al-Maadeed vanished 
  • Twenty-one British-Qatari All Party Parliamentary Group members were there
  • The junket, worth nearly £160,000, went on from October 7 to 17 last year
  • Ms al-Maadeed, who fled to Britain in 2019, returned to Qatar on October 13










Almost two dozen MPs were on a five-star junket to Qatar in the same week that women’s rights activist Noof al-Maadeed mysteriously vanished, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Records show that 21 members of the British-Qatari All Party Parliamentary Group were on the free trip – worth nearly £160,000 – from October 7 to 17 last year.

On October 13, Ms al-Maadeed, 23, who had fled to Britain following years of domestic abuse but returned to Qatar after receiving assurances from the authoritarian regime she would be safe, posted a video online.

Women's rights activist Noof al-Maadeed, pictured, had sought asylum in the UK in 2019

Women’s rights activist Noof al-Maadeed, pictured, had sought asylum in the UK in 2019

Chillingly, she said: ‘If you do not see any posts from me in the coming days, that means I have been handed over to my family against my will.’ No other posts followed at the time.

Ms al-Maadeed had sought asylum in the UK in 2019. When a video documenting her journey to Britain went viral, she became a cause celebre, highlighting the discrimination facing women in the Gulf state.

Since her disappearance, reports have suggested she has been murdered or is being held in a psychiatric hospital.

The group included Douglas Ross (pictured), leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Labour's Rupa Huq and Angus MacNeil of the Scottish National Party

The group included Douglas Ross (pictured), leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Labour’s Rupa Huq and Angus MacNeil of the Scottish National Party

The activist reappeared on social media on January 10 and has since tweeted six times. She has also appeared in two videos saying that she is safe and well.

Supporters, including Human Rights Watch, said they hoped the change in tone on her Twitter account reflected ‘the start of Qatari authorities taking steps to ensure that she can live an independent and free life’.

The MPs’ trip was organised and paid for by the Qatari regime’s foreign ministry, and insiders say they were put up in one of the country’s top hotels – the five-star St Regis Doha. It has 12 restaurants, a 22-bed spa retreat and a private beach.

The group included Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Labour’s Rupa Huq and Angus MacNeil of the Scottish National Party.

Labour's Rupa Huq (pictured) was a part of the group on an MPs' trip organised and paid for by the Qatari regime's foreign ministry

Labour’s Rupa Huq (pictured) was a part of the group on an MPs’ trip organised and paid for by the Qatari regime’s foreign ministry

Last night, one of the MPs on the trip insisted that it had been a fact-finding mission and that Qatari officials had been challenged on the country’s poor human rights record.

Official records say the MPs went to ‘discuss Qatar’s humanitarian and political response to the Afghanistan crisis, preparations for the World Cup, workers’ rights reform, and bilateral relations’.

On average, flights, accommodation, internal travel, food and drink for each MP came to £7,500, with a total cost to the Qatari foreign ministry of £158,199.



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