Oman: UPDATE: Oman: Writer Hamood Al-Shukaily sentenced to three years in prison
On 18 October 2016, the Court of First Instance in Muscat, sentenced writer and author Hammood Al-Shukaily to three years in prison in addition to a fine of 1000 OMR (US$2600) on charges of "incitement to protest." The court set bail at 5000 OMR (US $13,000) in order for Al-Shukaily to appeal the verdict.
On 14 August 2016, the Internal Security Service (ISS) arrested Al-Shukaily, reportedly in connection with his posts on Facebook about the arrests of the “Azamn” journalists and corruption in Oman. He remains in detention. It is worth mentioning that he started a hunger strike on 27 September, to protest what he called his “unjustified arrest” and only stopped a few days ago.
Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirm that the trial is being held in accordance with Article 19 of the Information Technology Crimes Act. He is charged under this law in relation to a poem he posted on his Facebook page in which he says the following:
“Nothing in front of you other than getting out
Come out once
Try to get out for the second time
As the square under your feet
Stepping on silence
Stood proclaiming your homeland
Break the fear and cowardice
Bread will come to you by itself
Hot and flavorful
You will not lose”
Al-Shukaily, a member of the Omani Society for Writers and Authors, actively participated in peaceful protests in 2011. He has published a novel, "One Cry is not Enough", in 2014 in addition to five short stories and a book of children’s literature. Al-Shukaily works as a teacher of Arabic language.
GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Drop the charges against Hamood Al-Shaukaily, which violate his right to freedom of expression, and immediately and unconditionally release him; and
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders including journalists, writers and on-line activists in Oman are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.