Oman: Oman: Arzat central prison administration prevents Saeed Jadad from getting treatment in a specialized hospital
Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirm the deteriorating health situation of prominent Omani human rights defender Saeed Jadad. The administration at Arzat Central prison in the city of Salalah, where he is being held, have refused to allow him to get medical treatment in a specialised hospital.
On 15 May 2016, Jadad’s health deteriorated seriously and as such he made a request to the authorities to be transferred to a specialised hospital for treatment. When they insisted on him being transferred with his hands and legs shackled he did not agree. However, after his health deteriorated further he agreed to their terms, but they did not let him go to the hospital. Jadad suffers from many diseases, including enlargement of the heart muscle, back pains and high blood pressure. The ill-treatment in prison and the failure to provide necessary medical treatment led to his severe illness.
Earlier, on 17 April 2016, Jadad, felt a pain in his heart associated with severe physical fatigue. He immediately asked the management of the prison to transfer him to a hospital but his request was rejected.
On 25 November 2015, state security forces raided Jadad’s home, detained and transferred him to Arzat Central prison. The arrest followed ratification by the Court of Appeal in Salalah on 18 November of the sentence issued by the Court of First Instance, of a one-year prison term and a fine of 1000 Omani Rials (2600 US$). Jadad was convicted on charges of the alleged “use of an information network (Internet) in the dissemination of material that would prejudice public order" according to the verdict issued by the Court of First Instance on 07 April 2015.
Jadad is a long-standing, prominent human rights defender in Oman. He was instrumental in organising and leading pro-reform protests in Dhofar in 2011 and has spoken publicly to crowds of up to 20,000 people. He is an active blogger and has signed several petitions calling for reform in Oman. He was arrested many times in the past and served a travel ban before his latest arrest.
GCHR expresses serious concern at the refusal of the administration at Arzat Central prison to transfer Jadad to the hospital, although he faces a critical health condition, and holds them responsible for their inhuman actions.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Release Saeed Jadad immediately and without any conditions;
- Transfer Saeed Jadad to a specialised hospital immediately to get the required medical treatment; 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.”