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  • Detained in Dubai

Australians voicing outrage over Qatar’s mistreatment of citizen

68 year old Australian national Joseph Sarlak may spend the rest of his life in a Qatari prison after a local partner allegedly embezzled his company’s funds, and Australians are voicing their anger

In 2004, Queensland native Joseph Sarlak opened Clearspan Technology in Qatar. According to the investment rules at the time, Sarlak needed to appoint a local partner who would legally have 100% ownership of the company. It was unavoidable; so Joseph selected Sheikh Khalid Fahad Mohammed Saud Al Thani, a member of the Royal Family, and someone he thought worthy of his complete trust.

However, when Sheikh Khalid began to experience personal financial troubles, according to Sarlak, he did not hesitate to pillage the company’s accounts, and divert responsibility for the embezzlement to Joseph. Soon after, Joseph was arrested for company cheques that were returned for insufficient funds and charged with bouncing the cheques He has already been sentenced to about 7 years, and more bounced cheque cases are in the pipeline. In a particularly brazen act of hypocrisy, Sheikh Khalid has even opened a new case against him for “cheating the company”. As a result of these multiple cases, Joseph is essentially facing the rest of his life in jail. Meanwhile, Clearspan Technology, the company he founded and managed, continues to operate under the very man who allegedly pilfered its accounts.

Detained in Dubai, the renowned advocacy group, first released news of Joseph’s plight several months ago, and the story has sparked outrage among his fellow Australians. The organisation reports that they have received over 200 calls from supportive Aussies asking what they can do to help Joseph come home.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai & Detained in Doha, and familiar face in international media as a leading legal expert on the Middle East, herself an Aussie, has taken up Joseph’s case. Working closely with the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Ms Stirling, who has been at the forefront of Sarlak’s fight for freedom says, “Australians are usually very active players when a sad case like Sarlak'