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Middle East

Qatari poet jailed for life to appeal

Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami's lawyer says he will appeal against the verdict next week.
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2012 16:17

A Qatari poet, who has been sentenced to life for comments said to be critical of the Qatari leadership, will take his case to an appeal court, his lawyer Najeeb al-Naimi has said.

Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for what is said to be attempts to destabilise the country.

Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, criticised the Qatari government for the harsh sentencing.

"The international community must admit that there is international terrorism in Syria supported by states, states that claim to want to protect human rights in Syria, states which do not hesitate to condemn a poet to a life sentence merely because he had the temerity to write a poem condemning the emir of his country," Jaafari said on Friday.

Al-Ajami, who has been largely held in solitary confinement, spoke to the Reuters news agency in the presence of prison guards and others.

"The Emir is a good man," he told the agency. "I think he doesn't know that they have me here for a year, that they have put me in a single room.

"If he knew, I would be freed," he said.

"This is wrong," al-Ajami said. "You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet."

Al-Naimi said he would appeal next week against the verdict, which was handed down after six hearings. The poet was arrested in November 2011.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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