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French-Algerian player to sue former Qatari clubs

AP, Tuesday 3 Dec 2013
Zahir Belounis
The French professional footballer, Zahir Belounis, is unable to leave Qatar after a contractual dispute with his club, al-Jaish. (Photo: Amnesty International)
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A soccer player who had been stranded for months in Qatar plans to sue his two former clubs for fraud, extortion of money and inhumane working conditions.

Zahir Belounis is a French-Algerian whose case has helped bring to international notice the labor laws in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host. Under Qatar's kafala sponsorship system, workers need permission from their employers to leave the country.

Belounis returned to France last week after he was denied an exit visa for months because of a legal dispute over unpaid wages.

He and his lawyer said at a news conference Tuesday they intend to file lawsuits against the Military Sport Association President Gamaan Al-Hamad and Al-Jaish President Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani.

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