HIV+ journalist says deported from Qatar, sacked by Jazeera

2nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

A South African journalist told AFP Friday he was deported from Qatar after being diagnosed with HIV and sacked by the satellite network Al-Jazeera, which is based in the Gulf country.

In response to questions posed by AFP in an email, he said he underwent medical tests required to obtain his residence permit, but was only informed that he had HIV when his status was printed on a medical card months later.

"The next day I was called by the human resources department of Al-Jazeera and was told to report to their office at 7:00 am the next morning. I was driven to the prison by one of the officers from Al-Jazeera and admitted into prison custody," he said.

Later that day, he was deported back to South Africa, he said.

"I have not been contacted by anyone in management from Al-Jazeera since I was deported," he said. "I really simply want my job back, a job I can actually do from the Johannesburg offices of Al-Jazeera."

Section 27, a public interest legal group, said it has asked South Africa's delegation to the International Labour Organisation to file a complaint against Qatar, which bars foreigners with HIV from the country.

The journalist, whose identity has not been revealed, was named a senior editor for the network's website in October 2010, the group said.

An Al-Jazeera spokesman said only: "Any employee moving to a new country has to pass the immigration requirements there."

"Al-Jazeera is an equal opportunities employer, but obviously cannot circumvent the national regulations governing any of its worldwide offices."

Qatar is one of five nations barring entry to people with HIV, a law that Section 27 said does not comply with the country's obligations under international law.

Since the journalist would not be allowed into the country to contest his dismissal in court, the group said it has asked South Africa to seek action at the ILO.

© 2011 AFP

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