Al Jazeera Owner has Poet Jailed for Life for Insulting Him

FrontPage Magazine 5 December 2012
By Daniel Greenfield

Obama: "I locked up a guy who made a movie about Mohammed.” Emir: "That’s nothing, I locked up a poet who insulted me.”

Remember this the next time Tom Friedman or some other media talking head praises Al Jazeera and its tyrannical owner, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, for their commitment to openness or freedom of speech.

This is what openness looks like in the Qatari tyranny.(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. (continue reading...)