Oman: Health of activist on hunger strike deteriorating severely

The health of a prisoner of conscience on hunger strike in Oman has deteriorated seriously, Amnesty International warned ahead of his imminent transfer to the capital Muscat for a court hearing.

Saeed Jaddad, a human rights activist jailed for his peaceful activism, was hospitalized on 23 January in the city of Salalah, two days after beginning a hunger strike following his arrest on 21 January. Police have ignored medical advice stating he is unfit to travel.

“The authorities in Oman are endangering the health and life of activist Saeed Jaddad, who should not be facing trial in the first place,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Rather than putting him at further risk by transferring him from Salalah to Muscat for a court trial, Saeed Jaddad should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

A doctor at the hospital in Salalah yesterday recommended that Saeed Jaddad should not be put back into police custody for transfer to Muscat because of his failing health. 

A second doctor, appointed by the police, examined Saeed Jaddad and also concluded he was unfit to travel by plane in his current state. 

However, the police disregarded this medical advice and today they moved Saeed Jaddad to their headquarters in Salalah with a view to sending him by plane to Muscat.

Saeed Jaddad has been on hunger strike since his re-arrest on 21 January. He is now also refusing liquids. 

He has a longstanding heart condition but has refused to take medication in protest at his detention. 

He is charged with “undermining the status and prestige of the state” in relation to his calls for political and social reform in Oman and his meeting with members of the European Parliament in 2013. 

Amnesty International considers Saeed Jaddad a prisoner of conscience jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and association.