Oman: Oman: Prominent human rights defender Saed Jadad summoned to court on fabricated charges
On 19 January 2015, prominent human rights defender Saed Jadad was summoned by the Chief Public Prosecutor in Salalah, Ahmed Al-Masrori, to appear before the Court of First Instance in Muscat on 25 January 2015. He faces a number of fabricated charges including “undermining the prestige of the state.”
The summons comes after a series of targeted harassment suffered recently by Jadad, which began on 31 October 2014, when he was informed by security authorities in Muscat International Airport that a travel ban was imposed on him last July although he was never informed about it. Reliable reports suggested that the Special Branch of Omani police in Muscat was behind the travel ban.
On International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2014, security forces raided his house in Salalah city and took him away without any judicial warrant or charge against him. Although he has some health problems, he was only freed on 21 December on bail. Jadad wrote a detailed testimony for the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) about the flagrant violations he suffered during this detention period. Members of the security forces threatened him, did not allow him to communicate with his family and lawyer, and tried to force him to sign fabricated investigation statements. He was ill-treated despite his illness. He has also been questioned about his links to international human rights organizations and involvement with a Gulf delegation which met with officials from the European Union in May 2012, organized by the GCHR. To read the full testimony, please follow the link below:
On 20 January 2015, Jadad declared on his facebook page that he would not obey the latest summons and if he is arrested he will immediately start a hunger strike until death. To read his appeal, written in Arabic, please see the following link:
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 used to be an active blogger and has signed several petitions calling for reform in Oman.
The GCHR deplores in the strongest terms the continued targeting of Saed Jadad and calls on the Omani government to immediately cease the series of violations against him without restrictions or conditions.
The GCHR urges authorities in the Oman to:
1. Ensure a halt to the targeting of human rights defender Saed Jadad or members of his family immediately and unconditionally;
2. Drop all the fabricated charges against him;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances the ability of human rights defenders and journalists in Oman to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisal, and free of restrictions including judicial harassment.
The GCHR respectfully reminds the Omani authorities 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, 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 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.”