Target: The Qatari Government
Goal: Release imprisoned student who was sentenced to life in jail for an offensive verse of poetry
Qatari poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, was recently sentenced to life in jail after reading a controversial poem online. The poem he read was titled “Tunisian Jasmine” and spoke favorably about Tunisia’s uprising. Muhammad was jailed in November of 2011, months after the video was posted. Muhammad is a third-year literature student at Cairo University and has reportedly been held in solitary confinement since his arrest a year ago.
Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami’s punishment was very strict because he was accused of not only speaking offensively of the government, but threatening to overthrow it. He was officially charged with insulting Qatar’s ruler, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and inciting to overthrow the ruling system.
Muhammad’s poetic verse will cost him life in jail. This excessive punishment is one of many harsh sentences that Qatari government has issued, supposedly in an attempt to silence the widening dissent within the country. Muhammad’s lawyer says that they plan to appeal the decision. According to the lawyer, Muhammad’s trial was conducted in secret, and neither lawyer nor client was allowed to provide a defense.
Muhammad follows a long list of other people who were imprisoned for speaking against the government. Four individuals were recently arrested for insulting the nation’s leader on Twitter. It is unclear whether Muhammad’s verdict will be overturned.
Sign the petition below, and entreat the Qatari Government to release Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. Not only is it inhumane to imprison someone on so little cause, but it is a waste of a promising young student.
Dear Qatari Government,
Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami is a third-year student at Cairo University. He was imprisoned a year ago for reading an offensive verse of poetry online and has reportedly been held in solitary confinement since his arrest. It is also reported that the young man never received a public trial, and wasn’t allowed to defend himself in court.
I urge you to release Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. The crime he committed was very small. A young student’s life should not be thrown away for something very minor. Sentencing him to a lifetime in jail is a waste of a human life, and an unnecessary drain of Qatar’s resources.
[Your Name Here]
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