Death penalty on Filipino ‘spy’ reduced to life in prison

Filipino national Ronaldo Lopez Ulep is serving a life sentence for espionage in a Qatari prison: he had ‘confessed’ under torture. The verdict on his appeal was announced on May 31. It was reduced to 15 years.

Ronaldo Ulep, a former civilian employee of Qatar’s air force, was arrested on 7 April 2010 in front of three of his children at his home in the capital, Doha, by officers from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). He was convicted of spying by a Court of First Instance in Doha on 30 April 2014, and sentenced to life imprisonment, for allegedly selling information about his employer.

Ronaldo Ulep is understood to have been held incommunicado for about a month before his family were told where he was. During the first eight months of his detention, he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated.

Tortured to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic

According to sources close to the case, during two interrogation sessions he was burned with cigarettes on his back and legs, stripped naked and forced to crawl around on the floor until his knees bled, and punched and slapped. He was then forced to sign a document in Arabic, which he could not read or understand, that was later presented in court as a “confession”.

Ronaldo Ulep was also held for three to four days with his hands bound behind his back and was repeatedly deprived of sleep by guards who taunted him by saying his family were dead. He spent four years in solitary confinement at the State Security Bureau in Doha. After he was sentenced he was moved to the Central Prison in Doha and has not been allowed to contact his family despite asking permission at least twice. ? (AFP)