Filipino meted out death in Qatar for espionage
MANILA, Philippines—A Qatari court has condemned to death a Filipino national and sentenced two others to life imprisonment for espionage and economic sabotage.
The Filipino national was convicted of selling sensitive information that threatened Qatar’s national security and was meted out the death sentence by a lower court in Qatar on April 30.
Two other compatriots were also found guilty of the same offense and were ordered to serve life terms in jail, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. The case was elevated for appeal in Qatar’s appellate court earlier this month.
“A lawyer assisted them throughout the lower court proceedings, and the verdict was appealed in Qatar’s Court of Appeals last May 4,” said DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose.
“As in other assistance to nationals cases, the embassy would continue to extend assistance to them for as long as necessary,” Jose told a press briefing on Friday.
He was scant on details about the case, referring reporters instead to reports from Qatar published online.
Jose did not disclose the names of the convicts but said the Filipino facing death was employed in a state-owned company in Qatar, while the two others were working as “technicians at a military base.”
Qatari media reports said the Filipinos were proven to have conducted spying activities from 2009 to 2010, including selling classified information about the Qatar Armed Forces and a major Qatari firm.
Citing court records, The Gulf Times said the principal accused was working for “Filipino state security” forces while he was employed as a budget and contracting supervisor in a major Qatari company (name not disclosed). He had been working as an expatriate at the firm since 1993 and had access to company secrets.
The Peninsula Qatar said in a report Thursday that the man was a Filipino lieutenant who was working for “Philippine intelligence” at the time.
It said the man was “trained to investigate and record sensitive information and pass on to a key official at Manila airport.”
“He sent secret information about the company, its future projects, internal investments, tenders and tender specifications, details of company officials and minutes of meetings to a foreign organization. This could damage the company’s position and limit its competitiveness in addition to causing huge losses that would adversely affect the state’s economic status,” said the court, as quoted by The Times.
He was said to have received “millions” in payouts from companies who were doing business in the same sector.
The Qatari court said the man also sold information to his contacts about the Emiri Air Force, gathering sensitive information through his two Filipino associates then working as technicians in that air base.
Doha News said the men were accused of “providing information to intelligence officials in the Philippines about Qatar’s aircraft, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, as well as specific details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.”
They also leaked “maps, internal reports and classified information” about the air base for hefty fees.
The case was on trial for two years following an investigation that spanned more than three years, during which Qatari authorities conducted raids on the Filipino men’s homes, offices and cars, said Doha News.
Over the last decade, Qatar has also put on trial several foreign nationals for spying, according to the news agency. A Jordanian journalist was also sentenced to death in 2003 for espionage. An American was arrested in 2005 for selling corporate secrets to a foreign embassy while working at Qatar Petroleum. In 2010, two Egyptians were said to have been sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for a foreign entity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.