Renewed calls for Azamn journalist's release

Expression

In August 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for the release of Azamn newspaper's deputy editor Yousef Al- Haj, as well as the quashing of his conviction. Furthermore, HRW demanded that the Omani authorities allow Azamn newspaper to resume operations. Al- Haj has been imprisoned since his arrest in August 2016, as previously reported on the Monitor, when the Omani authorities forced the newspaper to close and arrested and imprisoned Al-Haj and his colleagues.

On the United Nations International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances - 30th August 2017, the Omani Centre for Human Rights drew attention to cases of enforced disappearances in Oman, including that of Hilal Al-Busaidi and Khalfan Al-Badwawi. Al-Busaidi was first arrested in 2004 because of content he posted in an an online forum. He was held incommunicado. In 2014, Al-Busaidi was reportedly abducted by security forces in the United Arab Emirates, and then handed over to Omani security forces on the border with Oman and was once again held for a month in incommunicado detention. Al-Busaidi is still not allowed to travel and has had his passport confiscated. 

Al-Badwawi was arrested in 2011 at a demonstration in Sohar province and was held for several days in a secret location prohibited from communicating with his lawyer or his family who did not know where he was being held. He was released without charge a few days later. He was arrested again in 2012 and held for 30 days in an undisclosed location without being allowed to communicate with his lawyer or his family. In 2013, Al-Badwawi was detained on two occasions by security forces and held incommunicado. He has since left Oman and is in the United Kingdom as a political refugee.