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Qatari women’s rights activist Noof al-Maadeed has been missing since mid-October, and fears are growing that she has been killed by her own family.
Shortly before returning to Qatar from the UK, she told social media followers that "if I'm not online, I'm dead".
She had been posting daily updates to Twitter and Instagram, covering her battle to change the laws in Qatar, where women have effectively the same rights as children and are not allowed to get jobs, travel outside the country or access healthcare without the approval of a male relative.
After a series of attempts on her life, al-Maadeed fled to the UK and had been planning to apply for political asylum.
However, she was persuaded to return to the Middle-Eastern country after being given private assurances by the Qatari authorities.
One Qatari official told the Guardian earlier this month that she was currently safe and in good health, but a report from the Gulf Centre for Human Rights claims that al-Maadeed was murdered on October 13.
The group alleges that al-Maadeed’s police protection was stood down on orders from "higher authorities" soon after she landed in the Gulf state and shortly after that she was kidnapped and killed by family members.
Human Rights Watch reported earlier this year that many women in Qatar aren’t even clear on what the official male guardianship rules are.
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"In many aspects of their lives, adult women are treated as legal minors in Qatar," the group said in a statement.
Qatar, which is expected to host the World Cup in November next year, is similarly hard on the migrant workers building stadiums across the country.
Abdullah Ibhais, a former World Cup official working on social media for the controversial tournament, is on a hunger strike in a Qatari jail.
He was sentenced to five years behind bars for fraud after he raised concerns over striking migrant workers in the country and says that he was forced to sign a confession by Qatari police.
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