Brit found hanged in Doha hotel ‘tortured by Qatar police’

Qatar authorities recorded Marc Bennett’s death as suicide but British coroner found no evidence of suicidal intent

Men look at the Qatar skyline
Marc Bennett died in 2019 after resigning as senior vice-president of Discover Qatar
(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

An investigation into the death of a British travel industry boss in Qatar has reportedly uncovered fresh evidence that he was detained and tortured by the country’s secret police in the final weeks of his life.

Marc Bennett was found hanged in a Doha hotel on Christmas Eve 2019, ten weeks after being arrested “and taken blindfolded and handcuffed to a state security detention centre”, The Times reported. The UN has also reported “credible allegations” of ill-treatment at the unit.

The newspaper’s probe found he had “described how he was stripped naked, blasted with high-pressure hoses, slammed against walls and subjected to sleep deprivation techniques while held for three weeks”.

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Bennett’s family said that following his release, he was prevented from leaving Qatar and left in “legal limbo”. After travelling to Qatar to repatriate his body, the family found evidence of “only a cursory investigation” into the 52-year-old’s death by the authorities, said The Telegraph.

The death was ruled a suicide, but a British coroner found “no specific evidence of suicidal intent”. Bennett did not leave a suicide note and was said to have been “laughing and joking” during a video call with his wife and children at their Sussex home on the evening before he died.

Former police office Colin Whelan, a friend of Bennett, told regional paper The Argus that “I’ve never witnessed such a coordinated attempt to prevent us getting answers”.

Bennett was senior vice-president of Discover Qatar, a subsidiary of the state-owned Qatar Airways, after being headhunted to boost tourism for the 2022 World Cup. But prior to his arrest, he had resigned, which an ex-colleague claimed was regarded as a “massive insult”.

Civil defence officers claimed Bennett had appropriated documents from Qatar Airways.

The Foreign Office closed the case last September, a week after Liz Truss became foreign secretary. The following month, Truss visited Qatar to create “deeper co-operation on security, development, trade and investment”.

Bennett’s family have asked a UN mission investigating abuses in Qatar to launch “an inquiry into his arrest, incarceration and death”, The Times reported.

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