Oman: The arrest of engineer and internet activist Ahmed Muslim Al-Kathiri
On 28 February 2022, a tweet posted by engineer and online activist Ahmed Muslim Al-Kathiri stated the following: “After the court ruling today, which stipulated the rejection of the case, it became clear to us that the authority is still in control of the judiciary and not, as it is rumored, that the government has no authority over it. The policy of states is to bring the ruler and the people closer to consolidate national unity, and the injustice that takes place in the corridors of the judiciary does not cement it, but rather alienates it.”
Al-Kathiri, who works as a project engineer at the University of Technology and Applied Sciences in Dhofar Governorate, uses his Twitter account to express his personal views on public issues that concern citizens, especially the issue of Al-Morouj lands.
On the same day, the Administrative Court of the Dhofar Governorate dismissed the case filed by some citizens against the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, Mohammed bin Sultan Al-Bousaidi regarding the unlawful distribution of the Al-Morouj’s lands to influential people and high-ranking government officials.
Reliable local sources confirmed that on 02 March 2022, the security authorities arrested and detained Al-Kathiri. He has been completely isolated from the outside world and has not been allowed to contact his family or lawyer.
As soon as the news of his arrest spread, a large campaign of solidarity calling for his release was launched on social media. He has been described as a patriotic figure who wants the good and justice of the citizens.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Omani Association for Human Rights (OAHR) denounce the arrest and arbitrary detention of engineer and internet activist Ahmed Muslim Al-Kathiri, and his isolation from the outside world. We call for his immediate release and an end to thetargeting of online activists, which violates their legitimate right to freedom expression.
The Omani government should work to respect public freedoms, and in particular freedom of expression, both online and offline.