Oman: Oman: Online activist Ahmed Al-Moghairi detained by Internal Security Service
On 16 June 2015, online activist Ahmed Al-Moghairi was summoned by the Omani Internal Security Service (ISS) to appear for investigation before the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in the capital, Muscat. He was detained in solitary confinement for over three weeks until his release on 9 July 2015. According to reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), his family was allowed to visit him on one occasion but he was not given any access to his lawyer. It is believed that he was detained in relation to his activities on social media networks, which talked about corruption and people’s demands for freedom and reform. In addition, it is believed that the ISS wanted to hold him in order to make him report on other online activists in Oman.
Al-Moghairi, 33 years old, is a well-known Omani Internet activist who has participated in the 2011 protests in Oman. In June 2014, he was detained for two weeks due to his writings on the website “Sebla of Oman” which is a discussion platform that address various topics. It can be reached at: http://avb.s-oman.net/
For more information about recent human rights violations committed by the Internal Security Service, see the following link: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/index/country/6
The GCHR expresses serious concern at the detention of Al-Moghairi in solitary confinement for weeks on end. The GCHR believes that he is being targeted as part of an ongoing trend of targeting human rights defenders and online activists and endangering freedom of expression in the country by the ISS in Oman.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- End the targeting of online activist Ahmed Al-Moghairi immediately; and
- 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 the Omani authorities 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.”