Oman: Oman: Family of human rights defender Mohammed Al-Fazari targeted by Internal Security Service after he fled the country
On 22 July 2015, Mahmoud Al-Fazari, brother of human rights defender Mohammed Al-Fazari, was summoned to appear for investigation before the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in the capital, Muscat. The investigation is reportedly related to the arrival of Mohammed Fazari in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2015, despite the fact that the authorities imposed a travel ban on him for the last seven months and put him under house arrest. He managed to flee the country despite having had his personal documents (passport and personal card) confiscated by the authorities.
Information received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) reports that Mahmoud Al-Fazari, aged 22 years, is still in the custody of the Special Division Service after he was transferred to Roy police station for a very short period of time. At the police station, his father visited him only once, where he found that his son had marks on his body, indicating that he had been beaten and kicked all over. According to reliable reports, the Internal Security Service has threatened the remaining members of the family that they will be summoned to the Special Division if they do not provide information about the manner in which Mohammad Fazari has left the country.
The GCHR strongly condemns such practices of the Internal Security Service and its continued violations against human rights defenders in Oman. The GCHR believes that the targeting of the family of Mohammed Al-Fazari is part of a systematic pattern that is still embraced by the Internal Security Service in Oman. Such measures impede human rights defenders and Internet activists from conducting their peaceful work and threatens freedom of expression in the country.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Release Mahmoud Al-Fazari immediately and unconditionally and put an end to the targeting of the family of Mohammad Al-Fazari;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that on-line activists and 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 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, recognises 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 Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (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 (1 and 2): “(1) Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (2) 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.”