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TRIAL OBSERVATION REPORT Concerning the prosecution of journalists from “Azamn” newspaper in Oman

2016-11-25

Introduction

This report follows a Trial Observation mission conducted from 4 to 7 November 2016 in Muscat, Oman on behalf of a coalition. The author is a practising barrister, called to the Bar of England & Wales, with experience of criminal defence, media law and human rights.

The coalition of rights groups which monitored the trial was composed of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

Given the political conditions in Oman, the author was necessarily restricted in the access that could be sought of state and prosecuting officials. The analysis offered below reflects the author’s observation of the Defendants’ Appeal Court hearing on 7 November 2016, coupled with research and investigation in the field. The identities of interviewees are not disclosed.