Qatar has paid money to Al Qaeda indirectly. However, the money was not for freeing the Japanese journalist, Jumpei Yasuda.
According to reports, the journalist was being held captive by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham which is a militant group linked to the infamous al Qaeda. This group was formerly called the Nusra front or Jabhat al-Nusra.
Reports also say that the group had been demanding a ransom of $10 million or ¥1.1 billion for the release of the journalist.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the journalist was released after a deal was reached by the authorities in Turkey and Qatar. Some sources have also stated that a ransom had actually been paid to secure the release. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a group based in Britain that monitors the civil war in Syria.
The government of Japan made an official confirmation of the fact that the man released is actually the freelance journalist, Jumpei Yasuda of Japan. Yasuda had been captured while covering the situation in Syria in 2015. Yasuda is currently in Turkey after his release.
The announcement was made by Taro Kono, the Foreign Minister of Japan. He also mentioned that Yasuda was in good health. Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, also held a news conference during which he confirmed that the man released was Yasuda for certain.
In a different news conference, Suga mentioned that no ransom had been paid to secure the release of Yasuda.