Posted at 0001hrs GMT 11 November 2015
The continuing imprisonment of the jailed poet Mohammed al-‘Ajami, widely known as Ibn al-Dheeb, underscores the Qatari government’s shameful disregard for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International today in the run up to the fourth anniversary of his detention.
The government arrested the well-known Qatari poet on 16 November 2011 for writing and reciting a poem deemed critical of Qatar’s ruling family. He is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence, confirmed after an unfair trial.
“It is tragic and absurd that Mohammed al-‘Ajami has been languishing in prison for nearly four years simply for reciting a poem that did not incite any violence. His arbitrary imprisonment and ludicrous 15-year sentence are the shameful result of the Qatari authorities’ inability to tolerate criticism and their disregard for the right to freedom of expression,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.