Oman: Grave violations against women and Internet activists
Update: Oman: On 04 January 2023, Internet activist Majid bin Abdullah Al-Ruhaili has been released by the Internal Security Service (ISS), which had kidnapped him in the first place.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Omani Association for Human Rights (OAHR) share the grief and sorrow of the families of two women brutally killed in Oman, and call on the authorities to do more to protect women. The two NGOs also call on the authorities to release an Internet activist immediately.
Woman lawyer murdered in court
On 07 December 2022, lawyer Amal Al-Abri, 42 years old, was killed in front of the Court of First Instance in the coastal city of Seeb, by her ex-husband. He stabbed her several times in different parts of her body, then ran away, leaving her to bleed to death.
Al-Abri, who has a son and a daughter with her ex-husband, worked as a secretary at the Court of Appeal in Seeb city and then worked as an associate lawyer in the office of lawyer Dr. Ahmed Al-Jahwari. Seeb is located in Seeb state, one of the states of Muscat Governorate, and is located in the northwest of the capital Muscat.
On the same day, the Royal Oman Police announced in a tweet: "The arrest of a citizen on charges of assaulting a female citizen with a knife in the state of Seeb as a result of family disputes between them, which resulted in her death; and legal procedures are being completed against him."
Local sources have confirmed to GCHR that she was subjected to several threats before she was murdered.
On the evening of 11 December 2022, student Ibtisam Al-Maqrishi was killed in front of the gate of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences in the state of Ibri. The offender, who was chasing her with his car, crashed into her car from behind, and when she stopped, broke the window of the car and stabbed her several times, which led to her serious injuries.
Al-Maqrishi, 32 years of age, was studying in the Commerce Studies department within the university.
In a tweet, the Royal Oman Police announced, "The arrest of a citizen after he stabbed a female citizen with a knife, which led to her death, and the legal procedures against him are completed."
Citizens in Oman have expressed on social media their shock at the two killings and condemned the government's failure to provide the necessary protection for women in the country.
Internet activist kidnapped
On 11 December 2022, online activist Majid bin Abdullah Al-Ruhaili was kidnapped by the Internal Security Service (ISS) while he was in a gym in Muscat.
Al-Ruhaili uses his Twitter account to courageously express his personal views on citizens' public affairs, his desire for comprehensive reform, and his belief that the people are the source of all powers.
On 09 December 2022, he tweeted, "The non-democratic power (that does not require key positions to be elected) uses a lot of election propaganda to create fake positions for the winner to sell illusion to society."
And on 29 October 2022, he tweeted, "They wreaked havoc with public money and told the people to pay the price."
Some reliable local sources confirmed that the main reason for his abduction was his tweets that contained his frank opinions. These sources added that he was forcibly held incommunicado in one of the prisons of the Special Division of the Omani Police Command in Muscat. The Special Division represents the executive arm of the ISS.
At a time in which the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Omani Association for Human Rights (OAHR) share the grief and sorrow of the families of the lawyer Amal Al-Abri and the student Ibtisam Al-Maqrishi over their untimely deaths, they call on the Omani government to make great efforts to provide the necessary protection for women in general, and to deal seriously with all the threats they face, in addition to working with competent authorities to enact the necessary laws that provide legal protection.
GCHR and OAHR also call on the ISS to stop its repressive policies and ensure the protection of public freedoms of citizens, including freedom of expression online and offline. The ISS should immediately and unconditionally release Internet activist Majed Al-Ruhaili.