Police are looking at the close relationship between Sir David Amess and the Gulf state of Qatar in the investigation over the lawmaker’s murder, British daily newspaper The Times reported on Monday.
The Conservative MP was chairman of a parliamentary group on Qatar and returned from his latest visit to Middle Eastern country two days before his death on Friday.
Amess, 69, was stabbed multiple times during a meeting with his constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Ali Harbi Al, 25, is the man being questioned by police as a suspect in the murder under the Terrorism Act. The British citizen of Somali heritage is believed to hold Islamist extremist beliefs. His father, Harbi Ali Kullane, is a former adviser to Somalia’s prime minister.
The oil-rich nation of Qatar exerts tremendous influence over the the country in the Horn of Africa, financially backing Somalia’s current president, Mohamed Farmaajo, who was elected in 2017.
Somalia’s former director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency wrote last year in the magazine The National Interest of what he described as Doha’s “malign influence” on Somalia’s politics and diplomacy.
According The Times report, police are examining whether the work Amess did in fostering ties between Britain and Qatar might have contributed to his death.
The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who met with Amess last week, offered his sympathies, saying that the politician “played an appreciable role in strengthening the historical relations between our two friendly countries. My sincere condolences to his family and the British people.”