Qatar, my combat

Jean-Pierre Marongiu, son combat
Jean-Pierre Marongiu, son combat

In 2008, I moved to Doha to create my management company. A few months earlier, Qatar Petroleum came to London and Rome to meet and convince me to choose the Emirate for my next entrepreneurial venture.


In Qatar, Kafala is in force, it is the Islamic law obliging any foreign resident to depend administratively on a sponsor and imposing on any business creation a 51% share to a local partner. In order to preserve my independence and my ethical values, I decided to invest my own funds for the creation of my company, which for me meant a lifetime commitment to my management firm. My company was immediately a great success which surpassed the limits of the Middle East. Forced to respect the local legislation, despite a duly recorded side agreement with the Qatari Minister of Commerce, I am the minority in my own company.

The Kafala system, which forces a foreign worker to have a local ‘sponsor’ who has absolute power over you, up to having control of your own passport, is an absurd and archaic system of slavery.

12 checks

In 2014, my sponsor ‘asked’ me to sell my company in which I had invested 2,350,000 euros. I therefore agree to sell my shares for 3 million euros. But my sponsor, a member of the royal family and a direct cousin of the Emir of Qatar, does not see it like that and decides to appropriate all the shares of my company without paying my investment nor my profits. I find myself without any legal support. The bank accounts of my company are emptied without my knowledge and the guarantee checks are rejected for lack of funds. However, in Qatar, every rejected check is punishable by one to two years in prison. With all the checks made to house employees, pay bills etc…I try to settle what I can with personal funds, but there are still twelve checks for an amount of around 300,000 euros, and I am condemned to more than 33 years in prison.


5 years

Locked in one of the toughest detention centres in the world, immersed among the worst criminals, drowned in a crowd of Islamist fanatics and the only French Christian, I live hell. Forgiven after 5 years of confinement, I lived the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan among terrorists.

Television Appearances

  • 1,744 days in the prisons of Qatar ! – TV Libertés

    Prisoner for close to 5 years in Qatar because of checks without funds, for which he had always claimed his innocence.

  • Testimony of Jean-Pierre Marongiu at RT France

    Back with Jean-Pierre Marongiu’s story, Frenchman imprisoned for more than 4 years in a Qatari prison.

  • Story on Soir 3 on the hell that the Marongiu family went through

    The Soir 3 team went to visit Jean-Pierre Marongiu’s wife to capture her testimony.

  • Jean-Pierre Marongiu tells his story of Qatari hell to Loreina TV

    Back with the nightmare that the Marongiu family went through for almost 5 years.

Return to France

Forgotten by politics, I spent 5 years incarcerated in the most indifferent manner on behalf of France, whose diplomatic body, however, has a duty to protect its French nationals. My experience remains unknown to the general public today. But how does one explain that this situation, as terrible as ugly, did not cause a real media outcry? How can I explain why no politician picked up my story? It would seem that economic, strategic and financial state interests have superseded my right to freedom.

“I spent 1744 days immersed in hell, and worse, in uncertainty. Uncertainty about my fate, uncertainty about my release date and in total indifference on the part of France.”