On 26 August 2016, Alkarama received confirmation that prominent Omani human rights defender Said Jadad was released after having served his one year prison sentence in the Arzat prison in Salalah. Jadad had been convicted in March 2015 of “using information technology to prejudice public order” for a social media post, in which he likened the 2014 Hong Kong protests to those in Dhofar in 2011.
Said Jadad had previously been arrested several times for his activism and held without charges. In December 2014, following his meeting with Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association (FPAA), Maina Kiai, during his visit to Oman, Said Jadad was arrested and held incommunicado for a period of 12 days. He was released without being charged only to be re-arrested a few days later.
In January 2015, he was arrested and held in solitary confinement for the entire period of his interrogation. Said Jadad was then prosecuted in two different cases before two different courts. He was charged and convicted by the Muscat Court for “undermining the prestige of the court”, “inciting demonstrations” and “disturbing public order” to three years imprisonment, which were upheld by the Court of Appeal but their execution suspended. He was convicted by the Salalah Court to one year in prison and a fine for “using information technology to prejudice public order” on the basis of the 2011 Omani cybercrimes law. Said Jadad was then released on bail until November 2015, when the Court of Appeal confirmed his sentence of one year imprisonment, after which the State Security forces arrested him and transferred him to Arzat prison in Salalah.
“While we welcome Jadad’s release, we are concerned about the prosecution of peaceful activist and dissidents in Oman,” says Alkarama’s Regional legal Officer for the Gulf, Julia Legner. “The Omani authorities must not only to abstain from future judicial harassment of Mr Jadad, but also guarantee the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly enshrined in the Universal declaration for Human Rights (UDHR).”
Alkarama further calls upon the Omani authorities to put an end to the systematic reprisals human rights defenders are subjected to.
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