In the face of censorship and media restrictions, Azamn journalists honoured for their work
Three Omani journalists were honoured in June 2017 by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, Maharat Foundation and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, in cooperation with IFEX. The journalists - Ibrahim Al-Maamari, Yousef Al-Haj and Zaher Al-Abri - were recognised and awarded as Defenders of Human Rights and Freedom of Expression for the month of June, within the international campaign entitled “Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression”.
All three journalists worked for Azamn newspaper, and as reported previously on the Monitor, they had been arrested and convicted in 2016 on dubious charges. The newspaper had been forced to suspend its operation after it published an article on alleged political interference in judicial decisions. To date, Ibrahim Al-Maamari, editor-in-chief of Azamn, was released on 10th April 2017, after serving his six -month sentence, while Yousef Al-Haj, deputy editor-in-chief, remains in prison. Zaher Al-Abri, a member of the editorial committee, was later acquitted of the charges brought against him.
The future of the Azamn appears bleak, as the authorities have prohibited its publication for almost a year now. On 8th May 2017, the Minister of Information issued another directive extending Azamn's suspension for another three months – challenging once again the Court of Appeal's decision to allow the newspaper to resume publishing.