A number of Arab human rights organisations have declared their intention to report Qatar in a memo to the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) for the alleged hacking of emails belonging to nearly 1,200 Arab and international public figures.
The African Commission on Heritage and People’s Rights, the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedoms, and the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK announced last week that they would hold a special session at the OHCR during its next periodical meeting the discuss the matter.
A statement released by the rights groups said that Qatar tried to hack the emails of politicians and public figures including the secretary-general of the Arab League Ahmed Abu El-Ghait and Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris.
The statement added that these hacking operations are in violation of UN agreements, international law and freedom of speech.
The allegation against the Gulf state is based on a recent investigative documentary produced by Cairo-based Insan Documentaries claiming that hackers funded by Qatar hacked into the emails of nearly 1,200 public figures from Egypt, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Insan Documentaries was co-founded by Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian journalist and former manager of Doha-based Al-Jazeera International in Cairo.
Fahmy was arrested in December 2013 along with a number of other Al-Jazeera journalists in the aftermath of the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi for publishing false news and operating without a license, and was sentenced in June 2014 to three years in prison. Fahmy and two other Al-Jazeera journalists were later granted a presidential pardon.
In June 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and the government of eastern Libya announced they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar for "its involvement in promoting terror and inciting political instability."