Document - Oman: Detained protesters at risk in Oman

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UA: 142/11 Index: MDE 20/003/2011 Oman Date: 17 May 2011


URGENT ACTION

DeTAINED PROTESTERS AT RISK IN OMAN

On 14 May, 15 people were arrested while holding a peaceful protest in Muscat, the capital of Oman. Fourteen continue to be detained, including Muhammad al-Habssi and Ibrahim Sa’id al-Hajri, both activists. The whereabouts of their detention is unknown. They are believed to be held incommunicado and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

The 15 individuals were among a larger group of people who held a peaceful protest in People’s Square in front of the Shura Council, in Muscat, on Saturday, 14 May. Omani security forces are reported to have surrounded the area where the protesters were assembled. The security forces closed the roads and ordered the demonstrators to disperse within 10 minutes; some did so, but others refused to disperse and were then arrested.


Among those still detained are Muhammad al-Habssi, Nabhan al-Hanashi, and Ibrahim Sa’id al-Hajri.


Prominent female lawyer Basma al-Kiyumi, the only woman who was among those arrested, was released on 16 May; she was charged in connection with participating in an unlawful gathering and released on bail to await trial at future date.


The protesters were calling for the release of other people who were arrested while carrying out protests on Thursday 12 May in Muscat and in the cities of Salalah and Sur.


PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Arabic or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Muhammad al-Habssi, Nabhan al-Hanashi, Ibrahim Sa’id al-Hajri and others arrested in connection with recent protests and to ensure that they are protected from torture or other ill-treatment and given immediate access to their families, lawyers and any medical attention they need;

  • Calling for their immediate and unconditional release if they are being held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly;

  • Asking for details of any charges they face to be made public and calling on the authorities to ensure that any legal proceedings against them conform to international fair trial standards;

  • Calling on the authorities to make public the names of all those arrested recently and to uphold and protect the right to peaceful protest.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 28 June 2011 TO:

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id

Head of State, Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance Minister

Diwan of the Royal Court

The Palace

Muscat 113

Sultanate of Oman

Fax: +968 24 735 375

Salutation: Your Majesty



His Excellency Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal bin Said Al Busaidi

Minister of the Interior

Ministry of Interior

PO Box 127

Ruwi 112

Muscat

Sultanate of Oman

Salutation: Your Excellency



And copies to:

Mr Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Riyami

Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

P.O.Box 29, Postal Code: 103

Bareq A' Shati

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Fax: +968 24648801

Email: enquiry@nhrc.om

Salutation: Dear Mr Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Riyam



Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

DeTAINED PROTESTERS AT RISK IN OMAN

ADditional Information

Omani security forces appear to have used excessive force against peaceful and other protestors on a number of occasions since protestors calling for political and other reform took to the streets earlier this year. At least three protesters have been killed and dozens have been injured as a result of the security forces firing of weapons at demonstrations. Many others have been arrested for involvement in protests.

Following protests on 27 February, Oman’s head of state Sultan Qaboos ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs and 150 Omani riyals a month (approximately US$390) in benefits for the unemployed in response to protesters’ demands. On 7 March, Sultan Qaboos made a wide-ranging reshuffle and restructuring of the cabinet, sacking a number of ministers.

However, protesters have continued intermittently to call for the sacking of other ministers, including the Minister of Information. They have also called for several current and former ministers, such as the former Minister of the Royal Office, to be held to account for offences they are alleged to have committed while in office. In addition, they are voicing the need for greater freedom of the press and for the reforms that Sultan Qaboos ordered in February and March to be implemented.

The Omani authorities continue to maintain strict restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. Several bloggers and journalists have been targeted in recent years for after criticizing the government, including some who have been detained.



UA: 142/11 Index: MDE 20/003/2011 Issue Date: 17 May 2011

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