Wednesday, 12 December 2012

That's Life ... in Qatar

QATAR SENTENCES POET TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING POETRY


Life in prison may seem a harsh sentence for reciting a poem out loud, but it's apparently what state security demands in Doha, Qatar, where a secret court delivered this sentence at the end of a short, secret trial in a state security case tried there in November. 
Muhammed ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, 37, a Qatari poet with a wife and child, was studying literature at Cairo University when the Tunisian revolution broke out in December 2010.  Inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, al-Ajami wrote a short poem, "Tunisian Jasmine" [see below], celebrating the overthrow of repressive elites.  He recited the poem to private audiences and the audio of at least one such  performance appeared on YouTube, but al-Ajami says he didn't post it, and doesn't know who did.  

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