Oman: Oman: Writer Ali Al-Rawahi released after 4-day detention
Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirm that on 2 January 2015, the Omani authorities released writer Ali Al-Rawahi after four days in detention.
On the morning of 29 December 2014, the Internal Security Apparatus summoned Al-Rawahi to appear before the Special Division of the Omani police in Muscat, whereupon he was arrested. The arrest is reportedly related to two tweets he published on 27 December 2014 in which he talked about corruption and urged people to demand their rights.
Al-Rawahi is a well-known Omani writer who has written several books on philosophy and also published a number of articles in Omani and Arab media.
The GCHR expresses serious concern at the continued targeting of human rights defenders in Oman by the Internal Security Apparatus. The GCHR believes strongly that the international mechanisms including those of the United Nations system need to put more pressure on the Omani government to stop this trend adopted by authorities to systematically targeting human rights defenders and online activists.
The GCHR urges the authorities in Oman to:
- Ensure that Ali Al-Rawahi will not be targeted any more due to his writings online and offline;
- Stop arbitrarily arresting human rights defenders and online activists;
- 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 the Omani authorities that the UN 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, recognises 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.”