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Mon 25 Feb 2013 02:34 PM

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Qatari poet sees jail term cut to 15 years

Mohammed Rashid Al-Ajami was originally given a life sentence for reciting 'Jasmine Poem'

Qatari poet sees jail term cut to 15 years
(for illustrative purposes).

Doha's Court of Appeals reduced the sentence of Mohammed Rashid Al-Ajami, a Qatari found guilty of writing a poem deemed insulting to the Gulf state's ruling family, from life in prison to 15 years.

Al-Ajami was initially handed a life sentence for after writing 'Jasmine Poem', which he allegedly recited in 2010.

The poet's case has drawn international condemnation from human rights group including Amnesty International, which criticised the life sentence given last year as an “an outrageous betrayal of free speech”.

“It is deplorable that Qatar, which likes to paint itself internationally as a country that promotes freedom of expression, is indulging in what appears to be such a flagrant abuse of that right,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said in November.

Al-Ajami’s lawyer said that he will file an appeal with Qatar’s Supreme Court, which will be heard in three weeks.

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