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Tue 30 May 2017 02:14 PM

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Norway says 'regrets' Qatar expulsion of Saudi activist

Mohammed al-Otaibi was deported by Qatar as he was making way to claim refugee status in Nordic nation

Norway says 'regrets' Qatar expulsion of Saudi activist

Norway says it "regrets" Qatar's expulsion of a Saudi Arabian human rights activist on his way to claim refugee status in the Nordic nation.

Mohammed al-Otaibi, 49, fled to neighbouring Qatar in March facing trial in a Saudi anti-terrorism court over his human rights work, the Gulf Center for Human Rights said Monday.

"It's regrettable that Qatar chose to deport that person to Saudi Arabia," Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde told AFP in an email statement late Monday.

"We are concerned by the situation and we will continue to monitor the developments for this person through a dialogue with relevant organisations and countries," she added.

The official Qatar News Agency (QNA) said a foreign ministry source had confirmed the deportation.

"The extradition was... based on legal procedures and regional and international agreements relating to the extradition of accused persons and criminals," the agency said.

Qatari authorities said the deportation had taken place last Wednesday.

The Norwegian Ministry of Justice on Monday confirmed that Otaibi had received a travel permit to Norway as a UN quota refugee.

First arrested in 2009, Otaibi in 2013 co-founded the Union for Human Rights in Riyadh.

Authorities closed it down after about one month, but he continued his work, issuing reports and giving television interviews, the Gulf Center said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch warned in April that Otaibi would be at risk of a long prison sentence and possible ill-treatment if forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia.