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Oman:Update - Several human rights defenders released pending trial, but others remain in pre-trial detention
On 26 August 2012, a number of human rights defenders charged with offences including instigating and taking part in “illegal gatherings” and insulting the Sultan appeared before the Muscat Court of First Instance. They had all been in detention since being arrested in June 2012.
Human rights defenderMr Mukhtar Al Hana'i was released on bail after paying 2,500 Rials (approximately EUR 5,200). However, the judge refused to grant bail to human rights defenders Mr Ismail Al Muqabli and Mr Nabhan Al Hinshi, and adjourned their trials until 9 September. The trial of human rights defender Mr Hasan Al Ruqayshi, who remains in detention, was also adjourned until 9 September.
Others who appeared before the Muscat Court of First Instance having been detained during the same wave of arrests included: Ms Maymoona Al-Badi, who was handed down a one-year prison sentence which was suspended upon payment of a bond of 1,500 Rials (approximately EUR 3,100); Mr Mohammed Al Fazari, Mr Khalid Al Nawfali, Mr Hatim Al Maliki, Mr Ishaq Al Aghrabi and Mr Sultan Al Sa'di, who were all released upon payment of a bail of 2,500 Rials each (approximately EUR 5,200); and, Mr Ali Al Hajji, Mr Mahmood Al Jamoodi and Mr Khulfan Al Badawawi, whose trials were adjourned until 9 September.
These legal proceedings come after a wave of arrests in June 2012 for activities including participation in peaceful protests and the signing of a petition calling for the release of human rights defenders.
Two of those arrested, namely Mr Hamoud Al Rashidi and Mr Hamad Al Kharousi, were handed down prison sentences in July 2012 and have been released on bail pending appeal.
And subsequent updated 15 August 2012 which highlight the wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of human rights defenders and Prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders in ongoing crackdown on civil society.
Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of the aforementioned human rights defenders and peaceful protesters, and believes that it is directly related to their legitimate activities in the defence of human rights.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its calls on the Omani authorities to immediately quash the convictions of Maymoona Al-Badi, Hamoud Al Rashidi and Hamad Al Kharousi, to drop all charges stemming from the legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly and expression and to effect the immediate and unconditional release of those human rights defenders and peaceful protesters who are still being detained.