United Nations human rights experts called for the release of the Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami on the second anniversary of his prison sentencing, 20 October 2015.
Al-Ajami is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in Doha for the contents of his poetry.
David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Farida Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, and Mónica Pinto, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, addressed al-Ajami’s case through a December 2012 communication to the Government of Qatar.
In their communication, the Rapporteurs expressed concern that the arrest, detention, and sentencing of al-Ajami may have been “solely related to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression,” further noting concerns regarding his trial proceedings and treatment while in detention.
Freemuse welcomes the statement from the UN Special Rapporteurs and calls on the Government of Qatar to heed its recommendations by releasing al-Ajami immediately. In September 2015, Freemuse together with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and 14 international NGOs sent a letter to the three UN Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention asking that they follow up on the case of the imprisoned poet.
» Artsfreedom.org – 16 September 2015:
Qatar: Joint call to United Nations to help imprisoned poet
» United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
UN experts call for the release of a Qatari poet serving a 15-year jail sentence for writing and reciting a poem
» ADHRB – 20 October 2015:
UN Experts Condemn Detention of Qatari Poet