Oman: Oman: Writer and online activist Saed Al-Darodi held incommunicado
On 10 October 2014, writer and online activist Saed Al-Darodi was summoned to appear before the Special Division of the Omani Police in Salalah. Report received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed that Al-Darodi went to the Police HQ in Salalah, the capital city of the southern Dhofar region, and has since disappeared. It is believed that he is being detained incommunicado at the Special Division of the Omani Police in Salahah. He has been held incommunicado with no access to his family or lawyer.
Saed Al-Darodi is a writer and poet who has published several books, as well as an online activist, a cartoonist and founder of the “Dhofar Cynical Art Group".
On 7 October 2014, he published on his facebook page a post entitled: “I’m not Oman….I’m Dhofari” in which he said that he is proud to be a Dhofari. It is believed that this post has led to his arbitrary arrest and detention.
The GCHR expresses serious concern at the incommunicado detention of Al-Darodi and fears for his physical and psychological integrity. The GCHR believes that he is being targeted as part of an ongoing trend of targeting online activists in Oman and endangering freedom of expression in the country.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Ensure the release of online activist Saed Al-Darodi immediately and unconditionally;
- Grant Saed Al-Darodi immediate and unfettered access to his family and lawyer;
- Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Saed Al-Darodi;
- 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.”