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Morocco student receives death threats, flees Qatar and finds herself stranded in Turkey

A Moroccan graduate who has been studying in Qatar said that she received death threats because of a critical Facebook post. After fleeing the country, she found herself stranded in Turkey.

DR
Estimated read time: 3'

At the end of her masters’ degree at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Yousra never imagined that her life would change overnight. Her return flight to Morocco was postponed, due to the pandemic, and she has since then been at the target of a hate campaign.

Through a Facebook post, the young graduate denounced discrimination between locals and foreigners during the health crisis in Qatar. Even when she left Doha for Istanbul (Turkey), Yousra said that she felt unsafe and was threatened twice.

Threatened in Qatar because of a Facebook post

Yousra's misfortune started in Qatar. Shortly after her graduation, the journalist published a post on Facebook, denouncing alleged discrimination between local residents and foreigners, in terms of access to health care. She then received threats on social media, which pushed her to deactivate all of her accounts. Her fear increased tenfold when these threats spread beyond the Internet.

«What was initially meant to be an opinion on social media became a matter of state security, then a violent dispute», she told Yabiladi. «On Facebook, I received over 600 private messages in a short time. I was insulted and threatened», she recalls.

These threats would then have spread in a very ordinary way, via instant messaging applications, with screenshots of her post accompanied by her photo. Even the institute where she studied started receiving the same messages.

«They were sending messages, videos with guns and a recording promising to wash away the honor of Qataris, describing how and in what way each of the weapons presented was to be used».

Yousra

While in Doha, Yousra received a call from a man who presented himself as head of the cybercrime unit within the police, and was summoned. The Moroccan ambassador in Doha told her that her flight was postponed to the next day. «Fearing a ban on leaving the country, I left on my own for Istanbul», she said.

Found in Istanbul

In Turkey, Yousra thought that her misfortune was finally over. However, days ago, in Istanbul, a man who spoke Arabic threatened her by showing her a pistol under his jacket. Earlier this month, a young man with a knife threatened her, forcing her to get on his motorcycle. He drove her to an isolated space, he would have threatened to «stab» her and «attempted to rape» her. She filed a complaint for «sexual assault and deliberate injury», according to a document sent to Yabiladi.

Yousra also said that the stranger stole her phone, ID, passport and all the money she had on her. «I was able to keep traces of his DNA on my nails, which will be used by investigators to identify him», she said,.

«Two days later, a second person followed me for hours», she recalled.

«A man was behind me constantly. I saw him when I was at the café, then when I left a pharmacy, so I took a taxi, but I was surprised to see him take one too».

Yousra

Arriving in a busy place, she remembers having found the same individual again, nearby. «He showed me his gun under his jacket and told me in Arabic not to move», recalls the Moroccan woman. She managed to leave but did not file a complaint this time.

Since then, Yousra has been locking herself home. «Horrified to see my life in so much danger, I booked a ticket to leave the country on July 11. But since I lost my passport, I need a pass from the Moroccan consular services in Turkey», she explained.

No way back, despite death threats

Yousra's attempts to obtain a pass were unsuccessful, much to her despair. «The embassy announced to me on Thursday that it could do nothing for me and said that the document has to be endorsed by the ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs in Rabat», she regretted.

«I am in jeopardy, the police have not yet arrested the first suspect, pending the results of the DNA test and I am threatened by another stranger who knows that I speak Arabic, I do not know why I cannot be entitled to this document, which has already been granted to me in the past, by other Moroccan consulates».

Yousra

Contacted by Yabiladi on several occasions, the Moroccan consulate in Istanbul did not respond to our calls.

Now outside Qatar but not out of danger, Yousra was also forced to leave without receiving the necessary documents related to her degree. «The institute promised to deliver it to me, the Moroccan embassy reassured me, but I have no further news», she added. 

Contacted by Yabiladi in June, the ambassador and the director of the Doha Institute have never responded to our requests. According to Yousra, they would have told her not to share her story with the media.

«Do not contact me any more on this subject, it is not me who is entitled to give statements to the press on the subject», ended up announcing a Moroccan member of the administrative board of the establishment.

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