Oman: Oman- Authorities continue to use the politicized judiciary to target human rights defenders and activists
Beirut, 09 August 2012- Further to our two appeals, dated 29 June 2012, and 18 July 2012, regarding the trial of human rights defenders in Oman, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received information that twenty human rights defenders and activists have been handed down prison sentences by the Court of First Instance in Muscat for exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.
On 08 August 2012, the Court of First Instance in Muscat has sentenced eleven human rights defenders and advocates of reform, convicted on alleged charges of gathering with intention to cause riot and disturbing traffic, to one year in prison and fines of 200 Rials (520 US$) in addition to a bail of 1000 Rials (2600 US$) per person that will allow them to appeal the sentences. The convicted eleven defenders and activists are:
1. Saeed Sultan Al-Hashemi
2. Basma Mubarak Al-Kiumi
3. Basma Sulaiman Al-Rajehi (also charged with insulting civil servants)
4. Nasser Saleh Al-Gilani
5. Abdullah Mohammed Al-Gilani
6. Bader Nasser Al-Jabri
7. Khaled Saleh Al-Nawfali.
8. Mahmoud Hamad Al-Rawahi
9. Mukhtar Mohamed Al-Hinaei
10. Mohammad Khalifa Al-Fazari
11. Mahmoud Mohamed Al-Jamodi
The same court and on the same date has sentenced activist Osama Hamad Al-Towayyah to one tear in prison and a fine of 1000 Riyals (2600 US$) for allegedly insulting the Sultan by publishing “offensive Writings and violating information technology law.”
On 06 August 2012 eight activists were sentenced by the court also to one year in prison and fines of 1000 Riyals (2600 US$) for allegedly insulting the Sultan by publishing “offensive Writings and violating information technology law.” The convicted eight defenders and activists are:
1. Hilal Salem Al-Busaidi
2. Essa Fadel Al-Masoudi
3. Rashid Awaz Al-Badi
4. Mohammed Nasir Al-Kiumi
5. Bassam Bdullah Abu-Qasida
6. Ahmed Abdullah Al-Maamari
7. Abdallah Saleh Al-Abdali
8. Awaz Ali Al-Sawafi
It's noted that activist Amina Al-Sa’adi was acquitted of all charges.
The GCHR believes that the sentencing of the aforementioned human rights defenders and activist is directly related to the legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. The issuance of these sentences represents a continuation of a common pattern now in Oman, which is using the politicized judiciary to target defenders and activists.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls on the authorities in Oman to:
- Immediately and unconditionally revoke all the sentences against the aforementioned human rights defenders and activist;
- 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.
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 (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 to:
1. Urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally revoke all the sentences against the aforementioned human rights defenders and activist;
2. Stop immediately from targeting human rights defenders and activists who are engaged in their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
Please Send Appeals now TO:
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id
Head of State, Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Finance Minister
Diwan of the Royal Court
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
Sultanate of Oman
Mr Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Riyami
National Human Rights Commission
P.O.Box 29, Postal Code: 103
Bareq A' Shati
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Fax: +968 24648801
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.