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Written by HRDs and Journalists
Oman- Arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defender Khalfan Al-Badwawi
Update: He has been released on 08 November 2013 after a one day detention.
On the morning of 7 November 2013, human rights defender Khalfan Al-Badwawi was arbitrary arrested by the Omani Internal Security (Omani Intelligence).
Prior to his arrest, Al-Badwawi received a telephone call from the security forces in which he was summoned to appear before the Special Branch Police or surrender to the nearest police station. The defender refused the summon and questioned the lack of arrest warrant. As a result he was taken from the street.
Although his father, Essa Al-Badwawi, went to the Special Branch Police at the General Police Headquarters in the capital of Muscat seeking information about his son, the authorities refused to give any information on his whereabouts or the reasons for the arrest.
Khalfan Al-Badwai is an active human rights defender who has been involved in many peaceful human rights activities including publishing many articles in which he defended the people's rights.
He was arrested on 6 June 2012 in relation to the case in which himself and other human rights defenders were accused of "Insulting the Sultan" and only released on 11 September 2012. However, he continued to face a trial which was postponed 14 times until Sultan Qaboos announced an amnesty on 31 March 2013 for all those who were involved in the two cases of the so called "Insulting the Sultan" and "Illegal gathering".
The Gulf centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses serious concern at the arbitrary arrest and detention of Khalfan Al-Badwawi and at his physical and psychological integrity, in the view that his whereabouts is not disclosed by the security forces. The GCHR believes Khalfan Al-Badwawi’s detention to be solely motivated by his human rights work and views this act as part of an ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders in Oman.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Khalfan Al-Badwawi;
- Grant Khalfan Al-Badwawi immediate and unfettered access to his family and lawyer;
- Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Khalfan Al-Badwawi;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Oman are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.