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Tue 22 Mar 2016 01:52 PM

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Freed Qatari poet 'plans to settle in Dubai'

Mohammed Rashid Al Ajami reportedly set to join his family, which has been living in the UAE during his four-year jail term

Freed Qatari poet 'plans to settle in Dubai'
Mohammed Rashid Al Ajami.

A poet who was jailed in Qatar for “inciting to overthrow the regime” and “insulting the Emir” is planning to settle in Dubai after his recent release from a Doha jail.

Doha News quoted Mohammed Rashid Al Ajami’s lawyer as saying that the Qatari poet is planning to move to the UAE to join his family, who have lived in Dubai during his imprisonment.

Al Ajami was convicted and handed a life sentence in 2012, which was later reduced to 15 years in jail.

He was pardoned by the Emir last week, and is now in Saudi Arabia “to meeting with supporters, including members of his tribe, his lawyer told Doha News.

Amnesty International has welcomed the news of Al Ajami’s pardon.

“The release of Mohammed al-Ajami is long overdue good news,” said James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme.

“It is absurd that he had to spend more than four years behind bars, when his poetry was simply the peaceful expression of his conscientiously held beliefs.

“We hope that the authorities will take the opportunity of this release to review Qatar’s criminal justice system and ensure that such flagrant violations of the right to freedom of expression are not repeated. This case has been a blight on Qatar’s international reputation.”