Oman: Oman-Three human rights defenders arrested and held in incommunicado detention

05.06.12

Beirut, 5 June, 2012 -- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received information that on the evening of 31 May 2012, human rights defenders Ms. Habibah Al-Hinaee, Mr. Ismael Al-Mikbaly, and Mr. Yacob Al-Kharusi were arrested by security forces as they were on their way to cover a workers’ strike in the main oil production areas of Fohod and Marmu. They are currently being held in incommunicado detention.  The three are co-founders of the Omani Group for Human Rights.

Habibah Al-Hinaee, Ismael Al-Mikbaly, and Yacob Al-Kharusi were participating in a human rights mission to the area to cover the strike of the workers, who are demanding improved working conditions. As a result of their strike, the workers have been subjected to temperatures in excess of 40° C and are deprived of water, electricity and food.

The three human rights defenders were summoned by the authorities and subsequently arrested without the production of an arrest warrant. According to information received they were transferred to the section of the General Headquarters of Oman Police in the capital of Muscat. They have been denied access to their families and lawyers and there is no information available as to the grounds for their arrests or their present conditions.

Other human rights defenders in the country have expressed concern that they too may be arrested at any moment as a result of their human rights activities and the calls they have made on the authorities to release Habibah Al-Hinaee, Ismael Al-Mikbaly and Yacob Al-Kharusi.

The GCHR believes that the human rights defenders have been arrested and detained solely as a result of their legitimate human rights activities. Habibah Al-Hinaee is a civil society activist who has covered cases of poor families and has participated in many cultural meetings across Oman. She visited Samail central prison and wrote a report focusing on the torture and harassment of prisoners of conscience arrested after the demonstrations in Sohar in 2011. Yacob Al-Kharusi is a lawyer and a prominent human rights defender and was also involved in the visit to Samail central prison. He had previously been arrested for participating in the demonstrations in Sohar. Ismael Al-Mikbaly has significant experience in the monitoring of human rights violations in Oman and campaigned to raise funds to support the Syrian people.

Its worth mentioning that the three human rights defenders are the co-founders of the Omani group for human rights:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/311082745637293

The GCHR has received further information that on the evening of 4 June 2012 two defenders, Habibah Al-Hinaee, and Yacob Al-Kharusi, have been released under the condition of keeping their residence location and charged with incitement, a charge which is classified within the state security cases. Also, the detention of defender Ismael Al-Mikbaly has been extended for another 7 days  and charged the same charge.

The GCHR expresses grave concern for the physical and psychological integrity of Ismael Al-Mikbaly particularly as he remains in incommunicado detention.

The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ismael Al-Mikbaly and  drop the charge of  incitement against him, Habibah Al-Hinaee, and Yacob Al-Kharusi as GCHR believes that they have been targeted solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work;
  2. Grant human rights defender Ismael Al-Mikbaly immediate access to his family and lawyer;
  3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ismael Al-Mikbaly;
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and journalists 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 you 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 (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.

Please write immediately in English, Arabic, or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ismael Al-Mikbaly and to ensure that he is protected from torture or other ill-treatment and given immediate access to his family, lawyer and any medical attention he may need;
  • Calling for the charge of incitement against the three human rights defenders Habibah Al-Hinaee, Ismael Al-Mikbaly, and Yacob Al-Kharusi to immediately and unconditionally be dropped as they are being targeted solely for peacefully exercising their legitimate right to do their human rights work;

 Please Send Appeals now TO:

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id

Head of State, Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance Minister

Diwan of the Royal Court

The Palace

Muscat 113

Sultanate of Oman

Fax: +968 24 735 375

 

His Excellency Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal bin Said Al Busaidi

Minister of the Interior

Ministry of Interior

PO Box 127

Ruwi 112

Muscat

Sultanate of Oman

 

Mr Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Riyami

Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

P.O.Box 29, Postal Code: 103

Bareq A' Shati

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Fax: +968 24648801

Email: a href="mailto:enquiry@nhrc.om">enquiry@nhrc.om

 

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.