Raffy Tsakanika: Family of Cambridgeshire woman killed in Qatar hit-and-run warn World Cup 2022 fans

  • Watch Matthew Hudson's interview with Raffy Tsakanika's parents.

The family of a woman who was killed in a hit-and-run in Qatar have warned football fans to be on their guard if travelling to the country for this winter's World Cup.

Make-up artist Raffy Tsakanika, 21, from Cambridge, was killed in the crash three years ago and her family claim Qatari authorities still have not released important evidence about what happened to her.

With thousands of supporters preparing to head out to the Middle East this winter, the family have urged them to be careful, saying that people may not get the support and help they expect if something were to go wrong.

Ms Tsakanika was killed by a speeding driver in a hit-and-run near Doha in Qatar on 30 March 2019.

Court documents, seen by the PA news agency, show Ms Tsakanika was the passenger in a Toyota Land Cruiser which “flipped over several times”, resulting in her and her 20-year-old friend being “thrown” out of the car.

Shortly after, teacher Mubarak Al Hajri, then aged 46, was captured “racing” at 119mph.

Witnesses described Al Hajri’s driving as “reckless”, with one man telling officers he tried to catch up with him after he started to “race” another car.

The Qatari courts eventually convicted Al Hajri of causing Ms Tsakanika’s death, causing serious injuries to her friend, driving in a way that endangered lives, fleeing the scene of an accident and speeding.

He was sentenced to just two months in prison and ordered to pay compensation to Ms Tsakanika’s family.

But the family told ITV News Anglia they feel they have still had nothing approaching justice from the authorities, and want football fans at the World Cup to be aware of how different the legal system is.

Raffy Tsakanika Credit: Family photo

Ms Tsakanika's mother, Jo Sullivan, said: "I don't believe you have any rights over there.

"You don't have any rights and you're not supported or looked after at all. And the British embassy will just pass you over to the Qatari authorities like they did with us.

"The FCDO was very unhelpful and we've had three-and-a-half years of what I can only describe as hell."

MS Tsakanika had been visiting her parents when she was killed, as her father was involved in building the stadiums where the tournament will be staged.

The Sullivans said after the incident the authorities refused to disclose any details.

They were told the driver would be jailed for two months but they said they have had no evidence he served a single day.

An inquest in this country will start in Huntingdon on the same day as the World Cup.

The coroner has been asking for documents and CCTV for months.

American lawyer Radd Seiger - who has represented the family of Northamptonshire crash victim Harry Dunn - is now also helping the Sullivans.

He said: "Shockingly after a year no progress has been made and clearly the Qataris are flatly refusing to assist the coroner with his inquiry so the family have just decided that they really want to press on now and the coroner has listed the full inquest for later this year in November."

Don Sullivan was sacked and he and his wife were told to leave the country when they continued to ask questions, said the family.

But they say they will keep asking them.

Mrs Sullivan said: "I want them to realise that this is not okay. That it's not okay to treat people with such contempt and disregard.

"We all have the same rights as each other irrespective of our nationality, our beliefs, our sexual orientation. We're all humans and deserve dignity."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We provided consular assistance to the family of a British national who died in Doha in 2019, and continue to support the family. We remain in contact with the Qatari and UK authorities."

ITV News Anglia approached the Qatari embassy for a comment.