Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami is a poet. But he will soon wear a different title:
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.
Looking forward to Al Jazeera's coverage of Qatari Poet Mohamed Bin Theab's 15 year sentence for his poem criticising the Emir.—
Rawah روعه (@RawahBadrawi) February 25, 2013
Here’s a brief tweet from Al Jaz’s official Twitter account:
A Qatari poet jailed for calling for the overthrow of the government has had his life sentenced reduced to 15 years, more soon…—
(@AJELive) February 25, 2013
Others are calling out Qatar’s hypocrisy:
15 years in jail is your destiny when you write a poem in the shittiest country in the world
Qatari poet jailed for calling for the overthrow of the gov has had his life sentenced reduced to 15 years.
Yet wants democracy in Syria?—
AYY-MAN (@geze88) February 25, 2013
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.