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Omani court hands down additional sentences against activists

Activists protesting the arrests of protesters
Activists protesting the arrests of protesters


UPDATE: The Court of Appeal in Muscat has postponed the case of 11 activists sentenced in August to November 14, 2012 (ANHRI, 17 October 2012)

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 9 August 2012 - ANHRI condemns the verdicts handed down by the Primary Court of Muscat in a hearing held on 8 August 2012 to 11 activists accused of illegal assembly and traffic disruption. All activists were sentenced to one year in prison and fines of 200 Rials (US$520), in addition to setting bail at 1,000 Rials (US$2,600) per person should they choose to appeal their sentences.

The convicted 11 defenders and activists are:
- Said bin Sultan bin Ali Al Hashimi, director of the Press Department at the State Council
- Basma bent Mubarak bin Saeed Alkyumi, legal adviser
- Basma Al Rajhi , researcher, Administrative Affairs, Ministry of Education
- Nasser bin Saleh bin Khamis Ghilani, media and publishing consultant at the Authority of Information Technology
- Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Ghilani, media observer at Muscat International Airport
- Badr bin Nasser bin Ali Al Jabri, Ministry of Education
- Sohar Khaled bin Saleh bin Abdullah Nawfali, engineer
- Mahmoud Ben Hamad Al Thani Rawahi, Arabic language teacher at the Ministry of Education
- Mukhtar ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Hinai, technical supervisor in “El-zaman” Magazine
- Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Salem Fazari, student at Sultan Qaboos University
- Mahmoud bin Mohammed bin Nasser Aljamodai, care supervisor at the Ministry of Health

The 11 activists were convicted on charges of gathering with an intent to disturb traffic. Basma Rajhi was also charged with insulting civil servants, for participating in demonstrations in Oman during the month of June. At that time, protesters had demanded the release of activists who were previously arrested without any charges and for no other reason but their expressed support for other detainees.

The Court also held a private hearing for a group of activists, most notably Ismail Almkabbala, but the case was postponed to 26 August 2012.

In a related matter, the Omani authorities continued their smear campaign against the sentenced activists by publishing their photos through the Oman News Agency and on national television, even though the accused still have an opportunity to appeal and obtain acquittals.

ANHRI stated that “issuing verdicts against the activists is the government's malicious way of silencing the activists and opposition voices who call for reforms . . . Moreover, the authorities changed the judge three times before issuing the verdict, which raises doubts about the possibility of conditions for a fair trial.”

ANHRI urges “the Omani authorities to immediately release the activists and drop all the charges against them while ensuring their safety and to not legally prosecute them, especially since they have committed no crime other than peacefully expressing their opinions.”

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