A poet named, Mohammed al-Ajami (picture to the left), previously a student at the Cairo University, was sentenced to life in prison in a private hearing last October on the grounds that he recited a poem that criticized Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani's monarchistic rule in Qatar. A video was released of him privately reciting this poem, and was discovered by Qatar authorities.
His sentence was recently reduced to 15 years and this was by in large due to the fact that his initial arrest was meant to show other possibly dissident activists against the Qatar monarchy would be punished severely. As our class has studied in a monarchy, there is very little room for criticism, especially if this monarch does not collect taxes and provides many public goods. Qatar is the epitome of a well run rentier state. According to the CIA World Factbook, Qatar's government revenues are composed of primarily oil and gas revenues (over 70%). With Qatar owning 13% of the worlds oil reserves, it should be able to rely on this resource wealth for almost 60 years. Because of this wealth, the government has been able to achieve unemployment rates of 0.5%. It is seemingly impossible to be unhappy with the monarchy of Qatar, as they have done an incredible job at making sure everyone is working and provided for.
Further Reading/Works Cited:
Burch, Michael. Lecture 4/8/13.
Alsop, Harry. Qatari Poet Has Sentence Reduced, Telegraph. UK. 2013.
Human Rights Watch Organization. Qatar: Promises Little Action on Migrant Workers Rights, HWR. 2013.