|  

Demand the Immediate Release of Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami

On November 29, 2012, poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison for his poetry in Qatar. His sentence has since been reduced to 15 years in prison on appeal, but his conviction on charges of “inciting to overthrow the ruling system” and “insulting the emir” still stands. His very imprisonment remains a clear violation of al-Ajami's right to freedom of expression. Take action and tell the Qatari authorities to free him now.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of the State of Qatar PO Box 923 Doha, State of Qatar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Thani Prime Minister PO Box 920 Doha, State of Qatar

Free Mohammad al-Ajami!

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Thani Prime Minister Your Excellencies, I am writing to protest the imprisonment of poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. I understand that state security arrested al-Ajami in Doha on November 16, 2011, and charged him with “inciting to overthrow the ruling system” and “insulting the emir.” These charges appear to refer to a poem or poems that Mr. al-Ajami wrote; reports indicate that three state poets concluded that one of his poems, which he had recited in a video that appeared online, was an indirect challenge to authorities. Over a year later, on November 29, 2012, Mr. al-Ajami was convicted of the charges in a two-line judgment after a trial marred by irregularities, and sentenced to life in prison. That sentence was reduced to 15 years on appeal on February 25, 2013, and confirmed by the Supreme Court on October 21, 2013. He has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest and remains detained in Doha Central Prison. I am seriously concerned that Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami has been convicted solely for his poetry in direct violation of his right to free expression, protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. I therefore respectfully call for his immediate and unconditional release. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

View our privacy policy

Like this page? Share it. Make a donation. Join PEN.

FacebookGoogleLinkedInTumblrTwitterEmailPrint
PEN America RSS feedFind PEN America on LinkedInFind PEN America on YouTubeFind PEN America on FacebookFind PEN America on Twitter