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Two activists detained after participating in peaceful protest

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 20 September 2011 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the ongoing detention of two activists, Ammar Al-Hanai and Ibrahim Al-Balushi, in the prisons of Muscat, the capital city of Oman. They were detained two weeks ago for peacefully participating in the pro-democracy and reform demonstrations.

Omani Security Services kidnapped Al-Hanai and Al-Balushi on the road in the Al-Masna'a region, north of Muscat, on 6 September. They have been detained since then without investigation or trial.

The two activists started a hunger and speech strike to object to their illegal detention.

ANHRI was also informed that Al-Hanai and Al-Balushi have been physically and psychologically tortured, and that they were kept in solitary confinement They were also denied sleep and forced to stand for long periods of time, which has led to a deterioration of their health.

Al-Hanai, 24 years old, is a young activist who was previously detained illegally for his activity and participation in the Sahar protests that broke out in Oman months ago. The most recent incident took place during the raid of the Sahar sit-in, after which he was beaten and detained for two months without investigation or trial.

Al-Balushi, 25 years old, was previously arrested in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. He was detained for over a month, during which time he suffered ill-treatment and torture, amid signs indicating that these practices were encouraged by the Omani authorities.

"Detaining the two activists, Ammar Al-Hanai and Ibrahim Al-Balushi, for exercising their legal right to peaceful expression of opinion is considered to be an extreme violation against freedom of expression and indicates that the Omani authorities have chosen the policing approach, like their Arab counterparts, to threaten their political opponents and muzzle them, instead of listening to their legal demands for freedom of expression and democracy," says ANHRI.

"The Omani authorities should immediately release the two activists, as well as investigate the allegations of torture. Everybody who is concerned about freedom of expression has the responsibility to expose serious human rights violations so that oppressive authorities will not feel safe committing these crimes," ANHRI added.

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