Amnesty International have just updated their campaign in support of the arrested peaceful protesters. They also report the verdicts from todays trial in Al Khuwair.
OMAN MUST CHARGE OR RELEASE DETAINED PROTESTERS
Since February, Omanis have called for change in largely peaceful protests
18 May 2011
The Omani authorities must say where and why they are holding some six people arrested during a recent peaceful protest in the capital Muscat, Amnesty International said today, as more than two dozen others faced trial on protest-related charges.
Fifteen people were arrested by Omani security forces on 14 May during a protest in Muscat calling for the release of others detained two days earlier in pro-reform protests.
Prominent female lawyer Basma al-Kiyumi was released on 16 May, and on 17 May some eight other activists were released, among them Muhammad al-Habssi and Ibrahim Sa’id al-Hajri. It is not known where the remaining six – including Nabhan al-Hanashi – are, or if any charges have been brought against them.
“The authorities in Oman must immediately provide details on the whereabouts of all protesters being held and either charge them with a recognizable criminal offence or release them,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.
“If they are being detained solely for participating in a peaceful public protest they should be released immediately and unconditionally.”
“Any charges should be made public, and trials against the accused must conform to international fair trial standards.”
Amnesty International is concerned that those who continue to be held following the protest in Muscat on 14 May are being detained incommunicado and may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
Basma al-Kiyumi was charged in connection with participating in an unlawful gathering and released on bail to await trial at future date. It is not clear if other protesters who were released on 17 May were charged or not.
Another group of 27 men who had taken part in protests during March and April appeared before a Muscat court today and were charged with a number of offences including banditry, setting fire to government buildings, and insulting officials. The men pleaded not guilty and the case was adjourned until 23 May. Two of the men, Khaled al-Hantholi, and ‘Ammar al-Hani’i, were not granted bail and remain detained at the Central Prison.
At least three people have been killed and others injured during recent public protests in Oman amid allegations that the security forces have used excessive force against protesters. Many people have been arrested, including dozens who were detained in the northern city of Sohar on 29 March.
More 'Oman in the news'
CBS, mega US media corp, just released their latest edition of 'Enduring Dictators, show casing all the world's dictatorships. Naturally, it's Oman. There are a few small errors, but, this is how Oman is seen in some circles.
CBS News: Enduring Dictators.
May 18, 2011 4:54 PM
The world's enduring dictators: Qaboos bin Said, Oman
By Joshua Norman
Oman's leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said attends the third day of celebrations marking 40 years since he took the throne at Midan al-Fath Stadium in Muscat on December 1, 2010. (Credit: Getty Images) This is an installment in the WorldWatch series, "The world's enduring dictators," inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, in which CBSNews.com takes a look at the men who continue to rule their lands unimpeded by law. See a complete explanation of the series and a list of others profiled here.
Qaboos bin Said, Oman
Length of rule: 41 years.
Sultan Qaboos took the throne in 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup, and has put his stamp on his country in many ways, even changing its name from "Muscat and Oman" to the "Sultanate of Oman." His part of the Arabian peninsula has been ruled by the al-Said family since 1744.
Most despotic acts:
The current "Arab Spring"-inspired protests in the country have seen at least two deaths. Protesters have complained about rampant government corruption, high unemployment and the lack of a parliament with legislative powers. There has been several waves of arrests of anti-government protestors amid an ongoing and aggressive crackdown against discontent. Although Oman has been accused of human trafficking - especially of foreign laborers - for some time, the government has allegedly begun enforcing laws against on the practice.
Outlook for change:
As mentioned earlier, several protest leaders have been detained and released in rolling waves of arrests in the past few months, and dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in the country is high. While disgruntlement amongst the populace is obvious, the extreme dearth of foreign press coverage and lack of general press freedom there leaves it unclear as to whether the protesters want the sultan to leave, or simply want their government to function better. Beyond the recent protests, there is concern about succession in the country, as there is no heir apparent or any clear legislation on who may be the next Sultan.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20064069-503543.html#ixzz1MkSaLBG1