Cairo on June 5, 2012
ANHRI denounced the decision issued Monday, June 4 with the continued imprisonment for the Omani activist and blogger Ismail al-Meqbali for a week under the pretext of “inciting the crowd” and demanded the Oman authorities to immediately release “al-Meqbali”, and to ensure his safety.
The security authorities in Oman have arrested 3 activists : Habiba al-Hinai, the lawyer Yaqoub al-Kharusi and the blogger Ismail al-Meqbali on 31/5/2012. That was for their attempt to monitor and follow-up the open Labor strike in which more than 4000 workers in the oil sector in Oman in al-Fohod oil field had participated after news about security and management suppression of the strike, which started in on 24/5/2012.
The three activists were deported bound hands and feet to a special police station in the capital that has the powers of judicial police, which it gained after the legislative amendments approved last year.
Yesterday June 4, the three activists stood before the Attorney General and were accused of “inciting the crowd”. Habiba and Yaqoub were released guaranteed by their place of residence except for al-Meqbali whose incarceration was extended for a week.
Later on, news reports cited that lawyers weren’t allowed meet the detainees in their detention period in a private section prompting activists to engage in an open hunger strike in protest against the arbitrary arrests while no charges against them.
The arrest of al-Kharusi came as a surprise for being a lawyer as local and international law do not allow arrest of lawyers without the consent of the Ministry of Justice except in cases of flagrante delicto.
The three activists belonging to the Oman Group for Human Rights that was founded several weeks ago.
It was said that Sultan Qaboos has passed legislative amendments that limit the freedom of demonstration and peaceful assembly, following the demonstrations and protests that swept the country last year influenced by the Arab spring demonstrations.
ANHRI finds these legislative amendments approved by the Sultan as a flagrant violation of freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of peaceful assembly in the country, especially that these amendments did not include any guarantees or protection for the freedom of opinion and expression detainees which threatens the elimination of freedom of opinion and expression in the country.
ANHRI calls on Oman authorities for the immediate release of Ismail al-Meqbali and to ensure his safety moreover to drop the charges against the three activists, and that if they are willing seriously to prove their good intentions in dealing with activists and opinion makers.
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