Last month, it was reported that 44 Nepalese migrant workers who were on construction projects related to Qatar's World Cup preparations had died due to conditions resembling slavery. Two German men have now come forward and said they were detained by Qatari police while trying to film those alleged labor conditions.
"Peter Giesel, a film-maker and the head of a Munich-based production company, and his cameraman Robin Ahne were detained for 27 hours after filming the working conditions of labourers from the balcony of the Mercure Grand hotel in Doha," The Guardian reports. Giesel and Ahne's account comes after an extensive investigation from the same paper that reported that Qatar was not paying, feeding, sheltering, or letting its migrant workers leave and, at the same time, making them work severe hours on construction projects for the 2022 World Cup.
During a two-month span this summer 44 Nepalese workers had died. Qatar had denied those claims late last month, saying the numbers were exaggerated. And, on October 3, the government said that it would review conditions for workers.
What's troubling with Giesel and Ahne's story is that it seems like Qatar doesn't really like transparency. If the slave-labor conditions don't exist, then one would think that there can't be any harm in letting people film in that nation. "They [the police] said they just wanted to talk to us, but it wasn't clear about what," Giesel told The Guardian. "But the interrogations went on for several hours and then the security police got involved. They were talking about us sparking a riot by talking to the workers … and that's why we got detained and put in jail," he added.
We're about nine years away from the first World Cup game in the country, and so far, what we've heard isn't good. The FIFA president has even said choosing Qatar may have been a "mistake." Granted, nine years is a huge time frame for the country to get its act together, but there's also the frightening possibility that things could (if they aren't already) get much worse. And it sounds like Qatar would like it better if we just didn't talk about it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.