CAIRO: Reports of two Egyptians receiving life sentences in Qatar for spying four months ago remain unconfirmed by both Egyptian and Qatari officials.
Al-Masry Al-Youm had reported that two Egyptians, one of whom was identified as Nabil Abdel-Basir, an employee at a Qatari newspaper, had been sentenced by a court in Doha for espionage on behalf of “foreign entities” and that Qatari authorities had been keeping the matter under wraps.
However, according to the sources in the article, the two Egyptians were sentenced for committing espionage on behalf of Asian nations and not Egypt.
The article also stated that Egyptian ambassador in Doha Abdel-Aziz Dawoud was aware of the allegations against the two Egyptians. It was claimed that Qatari authorities had been investigating Abdel-Basir and the other defendant for three years prior to their arrest.
Yet, the Assistant Foreign Minister for Egyptian Expatriates Mohamed Abdel-Hakam released a statement denying knowledge of the incident.
“We do not possess any information about this case and have not heard about it, but shall look into the matter and announce any information we receive,” he said.
When contacted by Daily News Egypt, the Qatari Embassy in Cairo stated that it had no knowledge of the incident.
An Egyptian resident living in Doha who asked to remain anonymous told Daily News Egypt that the issue was never heard of in Doha, and that it first surfaced in reports from Egypt.
Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Qatar have deteriorated in recent years for reasons including Egyptian objections to the reporting of Qatari-based news service Al Jazeera. Additionally, Egypt has criticized what it perceives to be Qatari efforts to usurp its role in the region.