PARIS: Zahir Belounis, the Franco-Algerian finally ‘freed’ from Qatar, intends to sue the brother of the Emir of the 2022 World Cup nation over the controversy which brought worldwide attention to the Gulf state’s kafala system of tied employment writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 33-year-old’s lawyer, Frank Berton, announced the intention to go to law at a press coference in Paris.

Berton said: “We have agreed to file a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office by the weekend or early next week over three issues: fraud, work in inhumane conditions – which is a specific offense in the Criminal Code – and extortion.”

The complaint will be levelled against the so-called ‘sponsors’ to whose subservience in the kafala system Belunis, like any other foreign employee in Qatar, was subject.

Belounis, to obtain his exit visa, had been left with no option but to sign a “letter of dismissal dated early February 2013 although his contract ran until June 2015,” said Berton who added: “This represents a total of €120,000 to €150,000 unpaid wages. This is the basis of the criminal complaint of is extortion.”


Berton said the Paris prosecutor’s office possessed the right to jurisdiction because “any offence committed against a French subject overseas can be considered by the French judicial authorities before the Court of Paris.”

The action is to be launched against the past and present owners of the military side Belounis joined originally and its direct sports club successor, Al Jaish: Gamaan Al Hamad, chairman of the Military Sports Association, and Sheikh Hamad bin Joaan Al-Thani, president of Al-Jaish and brother of the Emir of Qatar.

Sheikh Hamad is the fifth son of former Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who abdicated last June. He was was educated at the Saint-Cyr military school in France.