First Published: 2012-11-30

 

Democracy-preaching Qatar jails poet for life for incitement against regime

 

Mohammed al-Ajami sentenced to life in prison for incitement against regime, defamation of crown prince, attacking constitution.

 

Middle East Online

Ajami was formerly Qatar's justice minister

DOHA - A Qatari court on Thursday jailed for life a poet accused of incitement against the regime and defaming the Gulf emirate's crown prince, who supported anti-government uprisings in the region, his lawyer said.

"A Qatar court sentenced to life in prison Mohammed al-Ajami, alias Ibn al-Dhib, charged on three counts: incitement against the regime, defamation of the crown prince, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and attacking the constitution," Nejib Naimi said.

He said he would appeal next week against the verdict, which was taken "after six hearings, most of them in secret."

Under the charges against him, the poet was liable to a maximum five years in prison, said the lawyer, who was formerly Qatar's justice minister, stressing that "life in prison only applies in the case of an attempted coup."

Amnesty International said in a statement that the verdict bore "all the hallmarks of an outrageous betrayal of free speech," and called for Ajami's immediate release.

"It is deplorable that Qatar, which likes to paint itself internationally as a country that promotes freedom of expression, is indulging in what appears to be such a flagrant abuse of that right," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's regional director.

The poet was arrested in November 2011, accused of incitement "to overthrow the ruling system" and "insulting the Emir" Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the London-based rights group said.

Amnesty said the charges on which Ajami was convicted were based on the content of his poetry.

His arrest followed the publication of the "Jasmine poem" which criticised governments across the Gulf region, saying "we are all Tunisia in the face of the repressive elite," the statement added.

 

UN envoy in Moscow to save Syrian truce

UN envoy seeks to restart Yemen peace talks

Iraq reform process in limbo after Green Zone storming

US soldier feared killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan

Saudi Minister 'not satisfied' with level of female employment

OPCW warns ISIS may be making chemical weapons

French court says 'Carlos the Jackal' must face trial for 1974 attack

UN demands protection of hospitals in armed conflicts

Jewish settler who led burning alive of Palestinian teen receives life sentence

Italy ready to raise shipwreck off Libya coast

Heavy airstrikes kill dozens in ISIS Syria bastion

Deadly intra-rebel clashes rock eastern part of Syria capital

German 'jihadist' goes on trial for Syria war crimes

Number of people held in solitary confinement doubles in Israel

UN fears operation near Mosul will displace 30,000 more Iraqis

Turkey Nobel Laureate shows solidarity with veteran writer, Murat Belge

Russian FM hopes for Aleppo ceasefire in 'next few hours'

Israel Labour mulls break with British party over anti-Semitism claims

Saudi to ensure Binladin Group resolves wage issues

Tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims flock to Baghdad shrine

EU set to grant Turkey visa-free travel in migrant deal

Syria rebels strike hospital in regime-held Aleppo

Israel destroys home of Palestinian suspect's family

Saudi women to get copy of marriage contracts

EU praises Turkey efforts to meet criteria for visa deal

Sudan claims 'sovereign rights' in dispute with Egypt

Amnesty denounces ‘shocking’ conditions in Iraq detention centre

Carnage in Iraq as deadly car bomb targets Shiite pilgrims

PKK attack kills at least one soldier in southeast Turkey

Turkey pounds ISIS positions in Syria

Five years on, bin Laden doctor languishes in jail

Top Sudan court lifts ban on leading newspaper

Iran to grant citizenship to families of killed foreign recruits

Egypt journalists hold sit-in after police raid of press syndicate

US in desperate bid to salvage Syria ceasefire

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp