PEN International continues to protest the detention of poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, whose life sentence for a critical poem was reduced to 15 years on February 25, 2013. A final ruling by the Supreme Court is expected within 30 days. PEN believes al-Ajami has been convicted in violation of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

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Background Information

According to PEN’s information, al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison on November 29, 2012, on charges of “inciting the overthrow of the ruling regime” and “criticizing 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 November 16, 2011, after responding to a 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.


Write A Letter

  • Protesting the continued detention of poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb 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, and to release al-Ajami immediately and unconditionally.

Send Your Letter To

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

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Thani
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 920
Doha, State of Qatar           
Fax: + 974 4444 4945 (keep trying)
Salutation: His Excellency

With Copies To

Attorney General Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri
PO Box 705
Doha, State of Qatar
Fax: +974 4484 3211
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Qatar in your country if possible.