Qatar jailed poet appeals life sentence: Verdict next month

‘We are all Tunisia in face of repressive elite’

DOHA - A Qatari appeals court will deliver on February 25 the verdict in the trial of a poet jailed for life after he was accused of incitement against the regime through his writings, his lawyer said.
Lawyer Mohammed Nejib al-Naimi said that during Sunday's hearing the prosecution insisted on upholding the life sentence against poet Mohammed al-Ajami.
"The verdict against the poet Mohammed al-Ajami will be announced on February 25," Naimi said.
Naimi said that at Sunday's court session he insisted "there was no evidence Ajami had recited the poem he is being tried for in public" and that he only read it "at his apartment in Cairo."
Ajami was arrested after the publication of his "Jasmine poem" which criticised governments across the Gulf region with its line that "we are all Tunisia in the face of the repressive elite," according to media reports.
The poem referred to the North African country that saw the first of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Amnesty International has said that Ajami, arrested in November 2011, is accused of incitement "to overthrow the ruling system" and "insulting the emir" Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Naimi, a former Qatari justice minister, said that according to charges against his client he was liable for a maximum of five years in jail.