ANHRI condemns the detention of the three activists Habiba Hana’ei, Ismail Meqbali, and Yacoub Kharousi by the Omani security services. The detention of these activists is further evidence of the systematic violations of human rights in the Sultanate of Oman and the falsehood of the vows of reform.
According to activists, the three citizens were detained on May 31 while they were on their way to Fohoud oil field in the desert to check on the conditions of oil companies’ workers on strike since May 24. Press reports have been released about measures these companies are taking in cooperation with the Omani government and security services to repress and deter the workers by wrongful termination, threatening of military force, cease of electric, water, and food supplies.
The activists informed ANHRI that the last contact with Meqbali was on May 31 at 11 in the morning, when he stated that there was harassment by security men while they were meeting with the strikers, and that he did not rule out any measure taken against them, especially that he observed security men following them since they left Muscat, capital of Oman.
Labor strike is one of the aspects of social action in the country and is probably a resonance of the Arab Spring. Nearly 4000 workers in the oil sector are participating in the strike because of the government’s procrastination and non-implementation of its promises.
It is worth noting that Hana’ei and Meqbali are members of the Omani Group for Human Rights, which consists of a number of independent activists. They are also members of the Humanitarian Initiative for the Release of Protesters in Oman.
Hana’ei had published her testimony on her visit to detainees of protests earlier in the month of May. She spoke of the systematic torture of detainees and their ongoing suffering in prisons. This suggests that she has been under surveillance by the authorities because of her humanitarian activities.
On a different note, a number of prisoners of conscience in Samail prison have been on a hunger strike for six days. The reasons being the return of ill-treatment and humiliation by guards. Press reports cited that a military force had stormed the cells of the prisoners on strike and put them in solitary confinement on May 31.
“The detention of Hana’ei and her companions, the presence of security forces, and the torture of prisoners of conscience demonstrate that the Omani regime is worried by the noble appeals of activists and the ongoing calls to respect human rights,” said ANHRI.
ANHRI calls on all stakeholders to pressure the Omani government to immediately release the three activists and all prisoners of conscience in the country, and to put an end to torture in prisons.