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Families of detained activists meet Shura head

Chief of elected council promises to take up the matter with judicial authorities

  • By Sunil K. Vaidya Bureau Chief
  • Published: 15:33 February 19, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • Shaikh Khalid Bin Hilal Bin Naseer Al Maawali

Muscat: Over 50 family members, including women and children, of the activists on a hunger strike urged the Majlis Al Shura President Shaikh Khalid Bin Hilal Bin Naseer Al Maawali to intervene in their case and ask the Supreme Court to quickly take up the appeal by the detainees.

Among the family members were two accused, Khalfan Al Badwawi and Hathim Al Malki, who are facing charges of insulting Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed and violating the country’s cyber laws. Both are out on bail pending hearing of their cases in the primary court.

“Our next hearing is on February 27 as the case keeps dragging on and on,” Al Badwawi told Gulf News.

Al Badwawi did most of the talking during the meeting with the Shura chairman Shaikh Al Maawali. Two Deputy Chairmen — Salim Bin Ali Bin Salim Al Ka’abi and Abdullah Khalifa Bin Khamis Al Majali — and four other elected Shura members also attended the meeting that lasted for over three hours.

“We have told the Shura chairman and the other members that they were our elected representatives and must take up the cause of activists on hunger strike in Sumayil prison,” he said.

Al Badwawi, a management graduate, informed Gulf News that midway through the meeting the Shura chairman went out to make a call. “He came back and said that he would have a meeting with the Supreme Court authorities on Monday and the following Monday a decision would be conveyed to us,” he added.

He was optimistic that within the fortnight a decision would be taken to take up the appeal by those who have been convicted by the Appeal court and are spending their time now in the tight-security Central Jail in Sumayil.

He, however, said that the hunger strike, in its eleventh day, would continue.

Meanwhile, three other activists — Mukhtar Al Hinai, Ahmad Al Kharusi, Bassam Abu Qasida and one more unidentified activist — were taken to Sumayil Hospital after they took ill during the hunger strike.

Gulf News has learnt that writer and human right activist Saeed Al Hashemi was moved on Tuesday from Royal Hospital to the Central Prison in Sumayil. Al Hashemi was brought to the Royal Hospital in Muscat after his health deteriorated, allegedly in solitary confinement, after he went on hunger strike with 17 others.

Subsequently, five more have joined the hunger strike and 23 are now on hunger strike to demand the speedy trial of their second case as well as a quick response from the Supreme Court to their appeal against the Appeal Court verdict.

The Shura chairman was not available for comment when Gulf News tried to contact him.

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