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Qatar: Life in jail for poet who dared insult Qatari leader

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Qatar: Life in jail for poet who dared insult Qatari leader

Post by Kitkat on Fri 07 Dec 2012, 07:39

A Qatar court has sentenced a poet to life imprisonment on Thursday for insulting the nation’s ruler.

The charges appear to relate to one poem that insulted the Qatari emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, and another, titled ‘Jasmine Poem’, supporting the Tunisian uprising and criticising Arab governments.

and yet ...
Qatar, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, home to global broadcaster al-Jazeera and a strong critic of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, sought to cast itself as a broker of diplomacy and a champion of liberty and freedom of expression in the Gulf. In a speech in September, Emir al Thani said, ‘[w]e firmly believe in the importance of the freedom of expression and the right of the individual to express his [views]‘.

Yet a heavily criticised draft law, approved by Qatar’s legislative council in June, seeks to impose fines of up to £170,000 for broadcasting information that would ‘throw relations between the state and the Arab and friendly states into confusion’ or abuse or offend the ruling family.

‘Qatar talks about freedom and establishing a centre for press freedom,’ said Ali al-Hattab, a human rights activist, who is close to al-Ajami and was in Doha as the decision was handed down. ‘But it’s a kind of double standard,’ he told the Bureau

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