[Qatar] Poet’s life sentence reduced

English PEN joins the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International in continuing to protest the detention of poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, whose life sentence for a critical poem was reduced to fifteen years on 25 February 2013. A final ruling by the Supreme Court is expected within 30 days. PEN considers al-Ajami to be convicted in violation of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN’s information, Al-Ajami was sentenced to life imprisonment on 29 November 2012 on charges of “inciting the overthrow of the ruling regime” and “criticising the ruler” in a poem. The charges stem from a poem entitled Tunisian Jasmine which he wrote in January 2011, during the wave of protests throughout the Arab world that began in December 2010.He was arrested on 16 November 2011, after responding to summons, and was detained incommunicado for several months. His trial, which did not meet international standards of fairness, was repeatedly postponed. Al-Ajami is detained in Doha’s Central Prison, where he has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest.

For more background please see our previous action.


Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the continued detention of poet Mohammed al-Ajami, solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging the authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and to immediately and unconditionally release poet Al-Ajami.

Send appeals to:

Ambassador to the UK
His Excellency Mr. Khalid Rashid Salem Al-Homoudi Al-Mansouri
Embassy of Qatar
1 South Audley Street
Fax: 020 7493 2819
Salutation: His Excellency

Amir of the State of Qatar
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani       
PO Box 923
Doha, State of Qatar           
Fax: + 974 4436 1212
Salutation: Your Highness

Minister of the Interior
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al-Thani    
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 920
Doha, State of Qatar           
Fax: + 974 4444 4945
Email: info@moi.gov.qaSalutation: Your Excellency

Copies to

Attorney General
Dr Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri
PO Box 705
Doha, State of Qatar
Fax: +974 4484 3211

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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