Government critics harrassed through the courts

Expression

Human rights defenders including online activists and writers continue to be targeted by the Omani authorities because of their activities in defence of human rights. Defenders have been arrested, arbitrarily detained, imprisoned and deprived of medical treatment. On 13th June, the Court of Appeal in Sohar upheld the three-year prison sentence against online activist Hassan Al-Basham who had been arrested in connection with his activities in defence of human rights. On April 15th writer, cinema critic and online activist Abdullah Habib was arrested and detained until 4th May . Although he was subsequently released without charge, reports indicate that he was arrested because of his writing on Facebook. Saeed Jadad, a prominent Omani human rights defender, was reportedly refused medical treatment by prison authorities on 17th April and again on 15th May, when his health deteriorated seriously. He had been arrested and convicted in November 2015 on charges of the “use of an information network in the dissemination of material that would prejudice public order”. Ongoing reforms of the penal code in Oman are unlikely to result in improvements to restrictive laws enacted in 1974, which the authorities are likely to continue using to target HRDs and restrict basic freedoms.