Gulf News said Mohammad al Ajami was sentenced in November after the court found him guilty of "inciting to overthrow the ruling system" in a poem he recited in Cairo.
The government said the action violates a local law that prohibits calls to overthrow regimes, and the sentence doesn't abuse freedom of speech.
Gulf News said the trial is getting international attention, as Qatar has become a country known for promoting positive change in the Arab and Muslim nations.
Najeeb al Nuaimi, a distinguished lawyer, is representing the poet.
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