Muscat: A committee would be formed to look into the quality of food given to prisoners at the Sumayil Central Jail in Oman, according to a promise given by Lieutenant General Hassan Bin Mohsin Bin Salim Al Shraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs, to a delegation of five, including two sitting members of the Majlis Asshura.
"We have had a fruitful meeting that went on for almost two and half hours," Esmail Al Muqbali, a leading activist from Sohar, told Gulf News.
He was very receptive and positive in his response to our pleas and has promised us that a committee would be formed to look into the bad quality of food served to prisoners
Shura members Saeed Ganim A Muqbali from Sohar and Dr. Talib Al Maamari from Liwa accompanied activists Esmail Al Muqbali, Awadh Fuwasi and Khalid Al Maamari, who is an Imam (priest) in Sohar and represents family of imprisoned protesters.
Esmail, who has been campaigning for better facility for protesters lodged in Sumayil Central Jail, said that the police chief gave a patient hearing to their demands and promised to look into it.
"He was very receptive and positive in his response to our pleas and has promised us that a committee would be formed to look into the bad quality of food served to prisoners," said the activist, who was also detained during last year's protests in the country.
"We asked Lt. General Al Shraiqi to look into the poor treatment to prisoners and inferior food quality while in detention at Sumayil Central Prison," he said, adding that the police chief had promised to form committee to investigate into the charges.
"We also handed over a letter which we want him to deliver it to His Majesty (Sultan Qaboos)," he said and added that in the letter they have urged the leader to pardon the protesters.
"We have high hopes from our leader, who is known for his kindness to his subjects," he said. "We want authorities to look into the financial, social as well as family conditions of the protesters serving sentences and pardon them," he requested, adding that mistakes were made and it was time to pardon them.
According to them some of the protesters were in very huge debt and had lost employment following imprisonment. Meanwhile, he said that health of some of the protesters at Sumayil Central Prison, particularly Hilal Alawi, had worsened so they had begun taking small amount of food.
At the same time of the others had continued their fast. Earlier this month, a delegation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Oman had visited the Sumayil Central Prison following reports of fasts by inmates, protesting against food quality and demanding review of their sentences.
About 100 inmates first went on fast but the numbers later came down to 23. During the fast two prisoners died but Jihad al Taei, Secretary General of NHRC had said in a radio talk that the dead were drug addicts.
There are 29 activists lodged in Sumayil on different charges. Eleven prisoners from Ibri have been sentenced for three years in prison for arson during last year's violent protests in that followed the peaceful Green March.
Seven prisoners are serving two years and six months for carrying explosive material with them with an intend of arson while seven others are sentenced to five years for forcing government employees to stop work and leave the premises.
Three others were sentenced to six months for blocking road while one from Ja'lan Bani Bu Ali was sent to prison for one year and 3 months.