Qatar sentences poet to 15 years in jail for verse about freedom

Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami  is a poet. But he will soon wear a different title:

Inmate.

He will be confined to a Qatari jail for 15 years. Why? Because he wrote verses about freedom and leadership that offended the Muslim country’s Islamic ruling class. The sentence was reduced from life to 15 years. Small consolation.

Here’s a pic of the poet at the hearing:

Some outraged observers want to know if Al Jazeera, which is funded by petrol-drenched Qatar, plans on mentioning the human rights travesty.

Here’s a brief tweet from Al Jaz’s official Twitter account:

Others are calling out Qatar’s hypocrisy:

Live-tweets from the courtroom:

More on the case via the AP:

An appeals court in Qatar has reduced the sentence of a jailed poet from a life term to 15 years for a verse considered offensive to the Gulf nation’s ruler.

Despite the reduction, poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami denounced Qatar’s judicial system in a court session on Monday held under heavy security.

The case has brought international appeals by rights groups and is part of widening crackdowns by Gulf Arab nations against free expression, including sentences for social media posts deemed insulting to leaders.

Al-Ajami was given a life sentence in January for a verse posted online in 2010 that spoke about the traits needed to be a good leader. He also wrote a poem in 2011 that lauded the Arab Spring rebellions and criticized Arab governments that restrict freedoms.

Al Gore was unavailable for comment.


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