Oman: Oman: Internal Security Service continues systematic targeting of Internet activists
According to reports from Oman, the Internal Security Service (ISS) has arrested Internet activist Yousif Sultan Al-Arimi for writing on social media networks.
On 08 April 2018, the ISS summoned Al-Arimi for interrogation, and later detained him at the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in the capital, Muscat. According to reliable reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), he has no access to his family or a lawyer. Based on some information received, the reason for his arrest is related to views he published on his personal Twitter account. He shut down his Twitter account on the very same day of the summons.
Al-Arimi, is a 39-year-old Internet activist from the coastal city of Sur who has used Twitter to express his views on public affairs. He participated in the 2011 nation-wide protests in Oman.
GCHR expresses its condemnation of the arbitrary practices of the ISS and appeals to the Omani government to put an immediate end to the systematic targeting of human rights defenders and activists by the ISS.
GCHR urges authorities in Oman to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Internet activist Yousif Al-Arimi;
- Protect freedom of the press and freedom of expression on the Internet; 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.
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, 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 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.”