‘Noof isn’t dead’ – Qatari activist resurfaces on social media
A Qatari women’s activist who had said she faced threats from her family and sought asylum in Britain has resurfaced on social media, four months after she disappeared from public view.
Noof al-Maadeed, who is in her early 20s, posted videos from an unknown location and on a new Twitter account, giving assurances she was safe and well.
“Noof is here. Noof is alive. Noof isn’t dead,” she said in one video, smiling and wearing a black hijab.
“I’m fine, I’m healthy and I’m safe. This video is to reassure everyone who showed their support,” she added in another post, without explaining her absence.
The hashtag #WhereIsNoof started circulating after Maadeed stopped posting in October, following her return to Qatar after abandoning a bid for asylum in Britain.
Maadeed, who has criticised the treatment of women in her conservative Muslim homeland, had issued a series of tweets claiming her family tried to harm her.
Her case comes at a time of heightened focus on human rights in the gas-rich Gulf country, a year before it hosts football’s World Cup.
Maadeed said she opened a new Twitter account because she had lost her password for the old one, which had more than 16,000 followers.
In one tweet, she posted a picture of balloons and birthday cakes — one of which said “Welcome home” — and thanked Qatar’s social affairs and family minister, Mariam al-Misnad.
“I hope that this is a start of Qatari authorities taking steps to ensure that she can live an independent and free life,” said Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch.
“We are calling on the authorities to support her decisions about her safety and care, and respecting her freedom of association and expression.”
Maadeed has used her social media accounts to denounce Qatar’s guardianship laws, which require adult women to obtain male approval for everyday activities.