Oman: Oman- Arbitrary arrest of prominent human rights defender Saed Jadad

04.07.13

Update: He has been released on 04 July 2013 and is awaiting a trial. No further action is needed at present.

On the morning of 03 July 2013, prominent  human rights defender Saed Jadad was arrested at his family farm in Salalah, the capital of Oman's southern Dhofar region.

Saed Jadad is a long-standing, prominent human rights defender in Oman. He was instrumental in organizing and leading pro-reform protests in Dhofar in 2011 and has spoken publicly to crowds of up to 20,000 people. He is an active blogger and has signed several petitions calling for reform in Oman. He has also been active in seeking information in relation to the death of his son who died 17 years ago in the Sultan hospital in Salalah.

Between 24 and 27 April 2012, he attended high level meetings in Brussels as a representative of human rights defenders in the Gulf as part of a delegation organized by the GCHR and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).The delegation, led by Maryam Al-Khawaja, deputy director and head of the GCHR International Office. Saed Jadad met with representatives of all the EU Members States, EU institutions, including the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Danish EU Presidency, and the European Parliament.

On 14 January 2013, Saed Jadad was summoned by the Special Branch Police to the General Police Headquarters in the capital of Muscat. He was held at the police headquarters and interrogated in relation to his human rights activities. On 22 January 2013, he was released by order of Sultan Qaboos. For further information please see (https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/325).

On the morning of 03 July 2013, approximately 15 security officers arrested Saed Jadad at his home in Salalah. An arrest warrant was not presented  by the officers. Reports confirmed that he is being held at Salalah police station. However, to date he has not been able to communicate with his family or lawyers.

The local authorities, prior to his arrest, have destroyed his farm, and all animal stables claiming a new road will be built through his farm. Despite promises that he would be given another place to house his animals, the authorities never delivered on this promise and he has had to move his animals to another site. All the other local residents were given new places for their livestock except for the human rights defender. There is a fear that the authorities  may use this as a guise for his arrest, whereas the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) believes that his arrest is solely related to his human rights activities. .

The GCHR expresses concern at the arbitrary arrest of Saed Jadad and at due process irregularities, including refusal of access to his family and a lawyer. The GCHR is also concerned for the human rights defender’s physical health given his medical condition. The GCHR calls on the Sultan and authorities in Oman to ensure that he is immediately released. 

The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to: 

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Saed Jadad;
  2. Grant Saed Jadad immediate and unfettered access to his family and lawyer;
  3. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Saed Jadad;
  4. Immediately Stop targeting and harassing human rights defender Saed Jadad. The Omani Government has a responsibility to meet its international obligations to protect human rights defenders in the country;
  5. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders 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 (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”.