Qatar: If your government is like Qatar’s…
…Don’t look for a change in the stars,
And suggest that a Spring
Is a beautiful thing;
Or you may spend your life behind bars.
A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for an Arab Spring-inspired verse that officials claim insulted Qatar’s emir and encouraged the overthrow of the country’s ruling system, his defence lawyer said.
It was the latest blow from a widening clampdown on perceived dissent across the Persian Gulf Arab states.
The verdict in a state security court is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, that have repeatedly called for the release of poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami.