Marcelo Martinez arrived in Doha with his wife Angie on May 3, 2022. He sold his apartment in Buenos Aires, He ordered a promise to settle in an Arab country months before the World Cup started.
He took a barista course before the trip so he could live without savings. Both he and his wife were confident they could find work in Qatar. Without further ado, he began to consider the possibility of staying and living there beyond the sporting competition.
However, on October 12, 2022, he joined another Argentinian in the framework of an investigation to find out if he was part of a criminal gang accused of real estate rental fraud, money laundering and illegal association. was arrested in
After 78 days of detention, Martínez was released, but he is still unable to return to Argentina because the judiciary did not close the files.“On November 24th, four days after the World Cup started, the head of the investigation called me and told me I was innocent. But I can’t go yet,” he explained to TN. bottom.
Upon arrival in Qatar, The 54-year-old lawyer boasted of being the first fan to land in Doha to support the Argentine national team.Without going any further, the organization itself called on him to participate in events and advertisements promoting the World Cup.
“The idea was not to spend a lot of money and get a job. I was also thinking of going from Doha to Italy so my wife could apply for European citizenship. I thought about it,” said the father of three.
His arrest came after Martinez Rent 4 apartments with a real estate agency recommended by an Argentinian representative“We did it with contracts and receipts. One was for me and the rest were for friends who were due to travel before the World Cup started.
On the day he went to pay off his debts to the real estate company, he noticed a group of people threatening the Argentines he was with.“They took the keys to the truck and left. From there I filed a police report. When I went to testify as a witness the next day, they arrested the boy who was with me.” 24 hours later they went looking for me at the apartment,” recalled Martínez.
The lawyer added: He had rental documents. When they came looking for me, they asked me to bring some clothes. However, the prosecutor asked the judge to extend my detention for 30 days, after which he was given an additional 50 days of detention, until the 78 days of detention were completed.
Life of an Argentinian fan in a Qatar prison
After staying in a temporary camp for about a week, Martinez was transferred to prison. They kept my cell phone and some of the clothes I was wearing. ”
“I thought my life was ruined. I shared all that time with other prisoners who were there for various reasons. , talking to each other, etc. The worst part is the prayer, which Muslims do five times a day, one of them at 4 o’clock in the morning, they wake me up, “I couldn’t sleep again,” he said.
Martinez recognized a gesture Qatari police made with him and his Argentinian teammates during the World Cup.
“We all had TVs, but they took us into a room with a 50-inch screen, gave us food and drinks, where we used to watch Argentina’s game,” he said. “The World Cup saved me because I was watching the Argentina game indifferently, but I needed time to pass. I had no one to enjoy and celebrate with. I’m the only fan who didn’t celebrate the World Cup.”
Martinez continued: When he came out he didn’t see a goal, a penalty or a celebration. I can’t explain the pain of not being able to live in the city that I loved so much. ”
When he was released, the Argentinian returned to his apartment to find that most of the clothes he had left there had been stolen. , everything was missing.”
“I lost a lot of money. I had all my tickets, I had to pay my lawyer… I also lost the apartment I sold before the trip. I am devastated. ,” Martinez explained.
He is currently staying in a hotel with his wife, waiting for the Qatari judicial authorities to notify him and allow him to leave the country. cannot board the plane.
“My daily spending is $50 to $60 and I can’t spend less. It’s been like this since December 28. I’m changing hotels, renting a room for 4 days and moving. Now I’m 1 We’re paying $54 a day, but having a kitchen saves us a lot of money on food,” Martinez said.
“For the future, I have some ideas. I will do something to move forward. The situation is critical.I just want to go back to Argentina and stay there.I really want to see my mom,” he concluded.