The April 29 front-page article “Qatari captives freed for cash” advanced a false narrative created by an unnamed foreign government.

Instead of referring to facts and official statements, the article centered its reporting on materials provided by an unnamed foreign government. Why did this unnamed government not share these materials during the abduction (which would have been helpful to a resolution)? Or if the foreign government was concerned about the actions of Qatar, why not raise these issues with our government?

In June 2017, a few days after the blockade of Qatar, one of the blockading countries asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate whether Qatar paid a ransom to release the abductees. The Security Council did not take up the baseless claim, and no country put forth evidence.

Because so much fake news was generated on this story, one U.S. intelligence official said that “hardly anything about the Qatari [ransom] story in the news media is correct.” Each iteration of the story attempts to cast Qatar as a villain, disregarding that terrorists abducted 26 innocent Qataris.

It is true that many parties came to Qatar and attempted to use the abduction to extort money, but Qatar did not pay ransom, nor did we provide any funds to terrorist groups. Qatar successfully secured the release of the abductees by working with the Iraqi government. We are thankful for the safe return of our citizens and hope that this tragedy is never visited on another country.

Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al Thani, Washington

The writer is ambassador of the
State of Qatar to the United States.