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Australian father and son released by Qatar after months jailed without charge

Advocacy group says the two men, one a professor who had been on Doha's Covid-19 task force, were secretly detained and tortured
Professor Lukman Thalib (right) received a teaching award at Qatar University in 2018. He is a public health expert and helped Qatar with its Covid-19 response (Supplied)

An Australian father and son have been released after being jailed for six months by Qatar without ever being publicly charged,  multiple sources said Sunday.

Arrested in July, Professor Lukman Thalib, 58, and his son Ismail Talib, 24, had been kept in solitary confinement and subjected to "cruel and inhumane treatment," according to UK-based advocacy group Cage.

"As a family we were overwhelmed with joy when we heard my father and brother were being released. We really couldn't believe it," Maryam Talib, Thalib's daughter, said in a statement released by Cage.

Maryam Talib said the family still had "many unanswered questions," including why Canberra provided "little" support during the ordeal.

"We have still not received any formal allegations or justification for what has happened," she said.

Cage has said the two men were subjected to "sleep deprivation, temperature exposure and being restrained in painful stress positions, all of which is in violation of international law against torture".

The group accused Australia of being aware the men had been secretly detained in July and said embassy officials visited them in detention but did not inform their family of their location nor of torture claims made by Professor Thalib. 

Thalib was listed on the directory of Qatar University's College of Health Sciences as a professor of public health specialising in biostatistics, and had been part of Qatar's scientific research task force for Covid-19

Australia's foreign ministry said in a statement that it had "provided consular assistance to two Australian men who had been detained in Qatar," but declined to comment further to AFP.

The Qatari government was also approached for comment by the news agency.

In October, the US Department of the Treasury designated another of Thalib's sons, Ahmed Luqman Talib, as a "facilitator" of al-Qaeda, along with that son's gemstone company, Talib and Sons PTY LTD.

No charges have publicly been brought against Ahmed Luqman Talib.

Cage said the released men planned to spend time recuperating in Turkey, where they are receiving medical treatment, before returning to Australia.