Throughout Oman, freedom of speech is nonexistent as the government routinely detains activists, academics, and other critical figures for publicizing any dissent of the government.
Oman’s Internal Security Service (ISS) has started a new campaign against bloggers and Internet activists who are supporters of the Palestinian cause.
The coalition calls for the release of the writer, film critic and Internet activist Abdullah Habib who received a three-year sentence.
The new law contains several vaguely-defined articles that could easily be used by the Internal Security Service (ISS), known for its history of human rights violations, to target human rights defenders and Internet activists, and to suffocate public freedoms.
The Supreme Court of Oman issued a final ruling on the closure of Azamn, ending the paper’s fight to reopen and shuttering it permanently. Azamn is regarded as an independent newspaper characterised by its anti-corruption reporting since its establishment in 2007.
The blocking decision is the latest in a series of repressive measures taken by Omani authorities as part of the country’s broader crackdown on independent media.
The Internal Security Service (ISS) has arrested human rights defender Ahmed Al-Bahri and Internet activist Khalid Al-Ramadani for their peaceful and legitimate activities in the field of human rights and their writing on social media networks.
The Public Prosecution held its annual press conference in Muscat, Oman, during which it threatened Internet activists, who are engaged in peaceful activities while in exile, with prosecution in order to silence them.
Omani writer Abdullah Habib, 53, was sentenced in relation to his writings on Facebook. He was charged with violating Article 19 of the Information Technology Crimes Act for “using the Internet in what would prejudice the state public order.”
The three arrests of Azamn journalists are not isolated incidents. The Government of Oman has been recently stifling expressions of free press and free speech.
Oman’s Internal Security Service (ISS) arrested prominent journalist Ibrahim Al-Maamari, Editor-in-chief of Azamn newspaper on 28 July 2016.
Eleven regional and international civil society groups have penned a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to press for the release of all detained rights defenders across the Gulf region who are imprisoned solely due to their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
Omani courts have sentenced online activists to prison in two separate cases in February 2016 for their social media posts.
The frequency with which bloggers and social network users are arrested and convicted in the Sultanate of Oman reflects the appalling state of online freedom of information and expression there.