Emir: “That’s nothing, I locked up a poet who insulted me.”
(FrontPage/Religion of Peace) Qatar has sentenced poet Mohammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, who was arrested for allegedly inciting to overthrow the government and insulting the emir, to life in prison, Doha News reported Thursday. Ajami has a week to appeal the sentence, which was handed down unmotivated after a trial that Amnesty International, which is calling for his immediate release, said was held in secret, and in which the defendant was not allowed legal counsel.
What did Mohammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami do to offend the Emir of Qatar, who controls Al Jazeera?
While we understand that the poem recited by Ibn al-Dheeb included passages which could be construed as insulting to the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, there is no evidence to indicate that he has gone beyond the legitimate exercise of his right to free expression. In addition, while these passages may constitute a violation of Article 134 of the Qatari Penal Code, which provides for five years’ imprisonment for criticism of the Emir, this provision of the law violates freedom of speech standards under international law.Oh, but don’t worry. The best joke of this tale is yet to come.
On May 12 2012, in Middelburg, the Netherlands, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani collected the Roosevelt Foundation’s Freedom of Speech and Expression Award on behalf of Al Jazeera, the news channel that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani set up in 1996.
The Roosevelt Institute was created by merging the FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt foundations, and the Roosevelt Institute with the Four Freedoms Foundation. The first of the Four Freedoms is Freedom of Speech and Expression.
According to its self-description; “The Roosevelt Institute is a progressive non-profit organization devoted to carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by developing progressive ideas.” (more)