UN rights experts urge Oman to release activist

UN rights experts on Jan. 30 urged the Omani government to release Said Ali Said Jadad, a human rights activist. Jadad, who promoted democratic reforms, was arrested last week with no warrant and charged with undermining the prestige of the state, inciting demonstrations, steering up sectarian strife and offending state officials. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai believe Jadad's detention may be retaliation for communicating with international organizations, noting that Jadad has been arrested several times after visits from representatives of the UN. The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) has also denounced the arrest. Jadad has reportedly been harassed by the government for several months; he was placed under travel ban last October, and also detained last December when police raided his home.

In 2012 GCHR urged the government of Oman to stop arresting protesters and other activists who were calling for political reform. According to the GCHR, many of those arrested advocated for political reforms, promoted human rights and called for the release of human rights defenders whom Omani authorities had detained. The previous year an Omani court sentenced six human rights activists to between 12 and 18 months in prison for social media posts deemed to be slander against the country's ruler, while another blogger was sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 Omani Rials ($2,600). Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said later pardoned all activists and writers convicted, a decision praised by Amnesty International.

From Jurist, Jan. 30. Used with permission.