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LIVING AND WORKING IN QATAR Legal Considerations Presentation August 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "LIVING AND WORKING IN QATAR Legal Considerations Presentation August 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIVING AND WORKING IN QATAR Legal Considerations Presentation August 2013

2 Topics to Discuss Qatar Basics Introduction to Qatar Student and Faculty Life and the Law Key Areas of Behavioral / Moral Regulation & Other Expat Pitfalls Academic Matters and the Law Employment Law Commercial Operations and the Law Extraterritorial Application of US Laws to Qatar

3 Qatar Basics Formerly a British Protectorate; became independent in 1971 Ruled by the Al Thani Family – since Mid-19 th Century In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir who abdicated in July 2013 to son, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Qatari citizen population of 300,000 but total population of 2 million Land size is 11,586 sq km, slightly smaller than Connecticut Qatar Foundation non-profit organization founded in 1995 QSTP is Qatar’s first free-trade zone

4 Introduction to Qatar Law Civil Law jurisdiction vs US which is a common law jurisdiction Supreme governing law of the nation is its Constitution Civil Law, Penal Code, Civil Procedure Code and Sharia Law Court System – Courts have final authority on interpreting the law; however no binding precedent

5 Student and Faculty Life and the Law Obligation on faculty, staff and students to comply with Qatar law and respect its cultural, religious and social customs PDA – “Public Display of Affection” “One of us” Campaign Penalties are severe, including corporal punishment and deportation Use common sense and act respectfully


7 Respect for God & Government EMIR Anyone who criticizes and/or challenges, by any public means, the Emir’s authority or rights Up to 5 years imprisonment RELIGION Insulting God in writing, drawing, gesturing or in any other way Offending, misinterpreting or violating the Holy Koran Offending the Islamic religion Up to 7 years imprisonment

8 Respect for God & Government RELIGION Cursing any of the divine religions according to the regulations of Islamic Law Insulting any of the prophets in writing, drawing, gesturing or in any other way. Up to 7 years imprisonment RELIGION Anyone who opposes or doubts any of the basic tenets of Islam, or calls upon, favors or promotes another religion, cult or (religious) concept Up to 5 years imprisonment

9 Traffic & Traffic Violations Drivers from all around the world – makes for some hazardous driving at times Driving under the influence (alcohol, drugs or other mental stimulants) is prohibited – up to 3 years imprisonment + hefty fines; deportation most usual Accident causing injury – Driver must aid injured, report accident to police and NOT move the vehicle (unless aiding the injured or at police instruction). If no-one injured, vehicle may be moved Overloading vehicle – up to 1 year imprisonment

10 Drugs, Alcohol and Pork Products Consumption of alcohol is permitted in licensed areas (bars and restaurants, etc) and private areas, subject to the owner holding the requisite license; A license is required for purchase, sale and possession of alcohol Up to 3 years imprisonment + other penalties for “importing, holding (handling), buying, settling, transferring, producing, extracting, detaching or producing” prohibited substances This includes drugs which are restricted in other parts of the world, plus some that are not

11 Drugs, Alcohol and Pork Products Importation of pork (including pork products) into Qatar is prohibited and subjects the importer to imprisonment of up to three months and/or a maximum penalty of 10,000 QAR Sale of pork allowed through licensed entity, QDC. There are no written laws or regulations prohibiting consumption of pork in Qatar Note – Pork products, alcohol and other substances are seen as ‘haraam’ or forbidden under Sharia (Islamic) law and so are prohibited for those of the Muslim faith, notwithstanding the laws of Qatar

12 Personal Relationships Up to 7 years prison for sex between persons not married according to law (and up to life in prison where the “culprit” is a relative, guardian, caretaker or servant) Co-habitation between men and women not technically illegal but assumption of sexual relationship may be made Homosexuality is illegal – also up to 7 years prison

13 Personal Relationships Other sexual conduct also subject to regulation – e.g. it is illegal to induce or seduce someone to commit illegal or “immoral” actions. Could be interpreted broadly. Up to 1 year in prison + fines for dealing in “immoral” books, prints, writings, drawings, photos, movies or symbols. “Dealing” = producing, importing, exporting, possessing, transporting, selling, displaying, leasing, etc. Caution – Facebook and personal photographs circulated by email or otherwise

14 Free Speech and Expression The Constitution states that Qatari society is based on certain values, including freedom, and arguably freedom of speech. Up to 2 years prison + a fine for defaming someone in public through “accusing them of doing a mishap necessitating a legal punishment or inflicting their dignity or honor or exposing them to people's disdain and malice”.

15 Free Speech and Expression Up to 3 months in prison + a fine in case of defaming or insulting someone face to face and not publicly, or through the phone, or a written letter, or in another indirect way Up to 1 year in prison + a fine in case of spreading news, photos or comments related to the secrets of private life, or families, or individuals even if they were true. Caution - Facebook and email; prosecution for remarks that someone is “stupid” not unheard of

16 Assault As in U.S., assault is obviously illegal and penalties are severe As in many other jurisdictions, assault may be broadly defined – e.g. pushing, shoving, spitting, etc. may constitute assault Caution - there is a cultural tendency in parts of the Middle East to involve police and the authorities in personal disputes more so, than in some other parts of the world. Be aware that what may seem to you to be a relatively minor dispute, where one party is, for example, gently pushed, could result in assault charges and prosecution before the Qatar Courts

17 Obligation to Report Felonies Failure to inform the authorities of an act which is classed as a felony, is punishable by up to 3 years jail and a fine of 10,000 QR. A felony is defined to mean a crime which is punishable by death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for a period which is longer than three years. Be aware that an awareness of a contravention of law such as those above, may require you to report to authorities, or risk prosecution.

18 Academic Matters and the Law Responsibility to Students – General Standard of Care – Problems with Waivers Student Affairs – Organizations, Trips and Donations Impact of Free Speech Issues on Curriculum Textbooks, Internet, Visual and Other Media (possible license requirements)

19 Qatar Employment Law There is an open question on whether Qatar Labour Law applies to employees of Education City Universities under international contracts. Employees resident in Qatar or seconded to Qatar are deemed by the Labour Department to be subject to Qatar Labour Law requirements. These requirements are comprehensive and address work hours, leave policies, medical coverage, termination rights and end of service responsibilities. Currently being addressed by the Courts here in Qatar.

20 Commercial Operations and the Law Leases and the Rent Law – separate dispute resolution Personal and Business Loans – criminal and travel ban penalties for not paying back a loan and bouncing check

21 Other Matters Mixed Marriages –There are no restrictions on inter-racial marriage however the Family Law prevents marriage between Muslim females and non-Muslim males Children Born in Qatar –Qatari citizenship is not accorded to those born in Qatar –A Qatari birth certificate can be obtained and certified by the authorities in Qatar.

22 US Legal Issues: FCPA FCPA – what does it mean? What are the penalties? Who is a “government official” ? What is a “prohibited payment” ? What does “value” to “retain” or “obtain” work or business mean? Are there exceptions? Cases

23 US Legal Issues: Anti Boycott Outline of US Anti Boycott laws Qatar’s participation in the boycott Reporting Requirements

24 US Legal Issues: Export Controls Lectures and course materials of a “US person” are “US Exports” Course material with technical data may require a license in order to be shared in an academic environment outside the US or inside the US to non US nationals Implications of the Roth Case and others

25 US Legal Issues: OFAC US Sanctions – Iran, Libya, Syria and Sudan Implications on dealing with the governments of these countries, officials, and instrumentalities of these governments License Requirements and Penalties.

26 Other US Legal issues with extraterritorial implication Title VII and certain other employment laws Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism laws

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