20 NGOs call on Oman to immediately release all detained Human Rights Defenders

February 22, 2013

An impressive list of 20 human rights organizations have signed a statement regarding Omani human rights defenders who are currently in detention, especially those undertaking hunger strikes. 24 defenders and activists including Basma Al-Kiyumi, Bassima Al-Rajhi, Saeed Al-Hashemi, Hamad Al-Kharusi, and Bassam Abu Qasida undertook a hunger strike on 9 February 2013 in Samail Central Prison, protesting the delayed ruling on the appeals that they brought to the Supreme Court against the judgments that were passed against them. Confirmed reports reveal that the conditions of some of the hunger strikers have deteriorated seriously to the point that some are currently at risk of death. Saeed

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Al-Hashemi was transferred to the Royal Hospital in Muscat, where a neurologist examined him and confirmed that he is in urgent need of physiotherapy or surgery as a result of an injury on his right side sustained when he was beaten by unknown assailants during peaceful protests in Oman in 2011. The same reports reveal that Hamad Al-Kharusi and Bassam Abu Qasida were transferred to the jail’s clinic due to exhaustion caused by their hunger strike.These human rights defenders were incarcerated following the decisions of the Appeals Court on 5, 12, and 19 December 2012 which upheld sentences of between 6 months and 1 year in prison issued against them by the Muscat Court of First Instance in July and August 2012.

The defenders were charged with defaming the Sultan, violating the cyber law, unlawful assembly, and disturbing the public order.The recent series of trials against human rights defenders and activists in Oman started on 31 May 2012, when 3 human rights defenders – Habiba Al-Hana’i, Ismail Al-Mikbali, and Yaqob Al-Kharusi – were detained while visiting a workers’ sit-in. These three defenders had previously established the Omani Group for Human Rights.The crackdown on rights defenders and democracy activists in Oman escalated when the public prosecutor issued a statement on 4 June 2012 in which he threatened that a lawsuit would be filed against human rights defenders and activists who continued to exercise their right to freedom of expression and to call for reforms, respect for human rights, and the release of detained human rights defenders. This statement was followed by arrests and trials against dozens of activists, including writers, bloggers, human rights defenders, and demonstrators, who were accused of the aforementioned charges.The undersigned organizations believe that the detention of human rights defenders and activists due solely to their legitimate, peaceful exercise of their rights to free expression and demonstration constitutes a flagrant violation to these basic rights. The organizations are also deeply concerned for the security and safety of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience who are currently being held in prisons and detention centers in Oman.

via Oman: Immediately and Unconditionally Release All Detained Activists and Human Rights Defenders | Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

 

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