According to the Lawyer representing Mohammed al-Ajami the sentence was reduced today from life to 15 years in prison for writing and reading a poem. Please contact Senator Casey and Senator Toomey to seek the release of al-Ajami or legislators in your respective states and nations.
Form letter received from Senator Bob Casey D-Pa
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding Mohammed al-Ajami. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
Mohammed al-Ajami is a Qatari poet who studied literature at Cairo University. In November 2011 he was arrested for a poem he wrote about the Arab Spring, which contained a verse that state officials claimed insulted the emir of Qatar. He was charged with attempting to overthrow the government and has been sentenced to life in prison. Several international human rights organizations have called for his release. The State Department stated that they are seeking more information on this case and that they “support freedom of expression around the world. It’s a fundamental right. It’s protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Mohammed al-Ajami’s case is currently under appeal and the appeals court is expected to announce its verdict on February 25th.
As your United States Senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, I have consistently advocated for the protection of human rights around the world. All governments, particularly those that have made international commitments to uphold human rights standards, should work to protect human rights within their borders. I believe that the United States must continue to promote respect and tolerance for religious freedom and human rights. I have supported a variety of measures in furtherance of this goal, including:
· S. Res. 80, which condemns the Government of Iran for its persecution of the Baha’i minority and its continued violation of international human rights standards;
· S. Con. Res. 11, which condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, rejects attempts to rationalize anti-Jewish hatred or attacks as a justifiable expression of disaffection over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere, and calls on leaders to speak out against manifestations of anti-Semitism that have entered the Middle East debate;
· S. Res. 22, which condemns the January 2011 attack on the Coptic Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt, and urges the Government of Egypt to fully investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the attack;
· S. Res. 322, which expresses the Senate’s concern about the situation of vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq, and urges the Government of Iraq to reverse the marginalization of religious minorities and enhance security at places of worship within the country;
· S. Res. 167, which calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to allow freedom of speech and cease intimidation and imprisonment of religious minorities and those who disagree with Chinese government policies.
I have also sent letters to U.S. and foreign government leaders urging the release of human rights and religious freedom activists, including Father Ly in Vietnam and Dr. Fan Yafeng in China.
Finally, I have consistently worked to promote religious freedom and tolerance in Pakistan through meetings with Pakistani government officials, including former Minister of Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated in March 2011. During my trip to Pakistan in 2011, I personally raised religious freedom issues in meetings with the Minister for National Harmony and with leaders of religious minority communities. I will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to prioritize religious freedom and improve the safety of religious minorities within its borders.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov
. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office, or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator
Senator Pat Toomey R-Pa Update
The office of Senator Toomey R-PA contacted our poetry editor Diane Sahms-Guarnieri last week and advised her that the al-Ajami case has been elevated.
If you would like to contact Senator Toomey please use the contact form on his website: http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact
al-Ajami Al Gore Al Jazeera
You can help enlist former Vice-President and friend of Qatar, Al Gore in the effort to release al-Ajami from prison. Send emails to his marketing firm firstname.lastname@example.org
I request you forward this message to Vice President Gore.
Mohammed al-Ajami was imprisoned last November by the government of Qatar for writing and reading a poem concerning the Arab Spring that the Emir found offensive. He was sentenced to life in prison. Yesterday his sentence was reduced to 15 years. The man is not permitted to see his wife and children. All of this for writing and reading a poem. We have contacted legislators who are pursuing the status of the case, that being said it seems to me there is currently no one in the United States better suited to seek a pardon for the poet in Qatar then Al Gore. The sale of your cable network to Al Jazeera owned by the government of Qatar leaves you in a unique position. Al Jazeera proclaims the right to freedom of speech but has been largely silent on the issue of the imprisoned poet in their own country. I am hopeful this email will reach you and that you can use your influence to free the poet from this injustice. Possibly you can reason with the Emir.
We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)*
Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?
*copied from Code Pink notice
Previous posts on Imprisoned poet Mohammed al-Ajami:
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