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Blogger detained following blog entry critical of Sultan Qaboos' reign

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 7 February 2012 - ANHRI condemns the Omani security services for their detention of the prominent activist Muawiya al-Rawahy after he published his blog entry “Finally, I am free” on his blog “out of the edges of the skull” ( ). In this blog entry, he tackled a number of issues in a critical manner, such as his disappointment in the situation in his country and his lack of confidence in the reign of Sultan Qaboos.

The blog entry has been deleted from al-Rawahy's blog following his detention. He is still held by the security services and has not yet been brought to trial. There is no information available on who deleted the blog entry.

On the other hand, the Court of Appeal upheld a sentence against al-Zaman newspaper by the end of 2011 because of an article published in it, deemed by the authorities as insulting to the Ministry of Justice. The sentence suspended the newspaper for a month, gave Youssef al-Haj, the editor of the newspaper, and Ibrahim al-Mamary, editor-in-chief and employee of the Ministry of Justice, five months' imprisonment.

“Following the outbreak of the Arab spring revolutions, the space available for freedom of expression in the Arab world has widened, especially on the Internet. However, the Sultanate of Oman tries to gag its detractors of journalists and bloggers after it had been able to repress the pro-democracy protests in the beginning of last year” said ANHRI.

ANHRI calls on the Sultanate of Oman to decriminalize media crimes, release al-Rawahy, and undertake democratic reform instead of gagging its detractors.

ANHRI also calls on all those concerned about freedom of expression across the world to show solidarity with al-Rawahy and not to leave him as an easy prey in the hands of the Omani security services.

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