DOHA, Qatar (AP) - A defense lawyer says 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 ruler's overthrow.
The verdict Thursday is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, which have repeatedly called for the release of poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. His lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, says he will appeal the sentence.
Al-Ajami was jailed in November 2011, months after an Internet video was posted of him reciting "Tunisian Jasmine," a poem lauding the country's popular uprising that touched off the Arab Spring revolts across the Middle East.
Qatari officials charged al-Ajami with "insulting" the Gulf nation's ruler and "inciting to overthrow the ruling system."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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