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A Lèse-majesté detainee in Oman released on bail Wednesday

Amina Al Saadi gets bail after 42 days in detention for defaming ruler

Muscat  One of the ten Lèse-majesté detainees was released on bail today by the Muscat Primary Court in al Khuwair, according to an activist.

Last month authorities in Oman clamped down on a number of Netizens for slander against Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed.

So far 10 activists, accused of defaming the country’s ruler by writing slanderous articles on social media or various web-based forums, have been sentenced by the  Muscat Primary Court but releaed on bail pending their appeal in the higher court.

Ameena Al Saadi, who is teachers in a school in Suwaiq town in northern Oman, was arrested on June 12 for defaming the country’s leader. Her brother – Sultan Al Saadi – is also detained on similar charges. Sultan is still under detention.

Their sister Fatma Al Saadi has claimed in her post on Facebook that Sultan ate only six meals in his first 34 days of detention. She writes on her Facebook page that all her attempts to get attention of National Human Right Commission has fell on deaf ears.

“I tried to call our National Human Right Commission hundredths times but it seems that they are having problem in receiving calls,” she writes.

Last week five Netizens were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one year to 18 months for slander against Sultan Qaboos. The court has released all five on a 1,000 riyal (Dh9,514) (each) bail pending appeal in the higher court.

So far the Muscat Primary Court has sentenced 10 people for defaming the Sultan and committing cybercrime.

In the wake of Arab Spring – in Tunisia and Egypt – Oman also witnessed peaceful protests last year from January 17 onwards. The largely peaceful demonstrations were mainly confined to  Sohar, Muscat, Salalah, Sur, Ibri and some other places.

However, in February last year, the protest in Sohar turned violent and also saw about six people killed in police action. The protestrss were mainly demanding more jobs, better pay and working conditions and removal of some alleged corrupt officials.

The country’s leader took prompt action by creating 50,000 jobs, instituting unemployment allowance, replacing ministers targeted by protesters with those elected in Shura. The Sultan also granted more powers to the 84-member elected Shura council.

The protests then ebbed, except for sporadic slogan shouting by private sector employees for better wages and working conditions.

Last May, Omani employees of contractors working for oil companies in the country went on strike and then followed some protests and subsequent arrests of activists.
 
 
 
 

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