Muscat: While last of the 14 protesters were freed on Tuesday after being pardoned by Oman’s ruler, a former diplomat was detained for three days for taking part in the rally held in Sohar on Tuesday to welcome the released detainees.
“I was detained for three days and told that I was arrested because I led the rally, I instigated riots and blocked traffic,“ Hassan Mubarak Al Beloushi, who was once posted at Oman’s mission in India, told Gulf News after his release.
Earlier, Ali Hilal Al Muqabali, an activist from Sohar, 230-km north of Muscat, told Gulf News that the detained former diplomat was taking part in a car parade to celebrate the release of 14 young protesters, who belong to the Batinah province and were held for 2011 protests that turned violent in the industrial port town of Sohar.
A large number of people took out a procession on Tuesday to welcome the released detainees from Sohar as well as some from the different towns around Sohar.
“We are waiting for 48-hours period since his detention and hoping that he would be released,” he said, adding that until now no reasons were known for his arrest.
He said that Al Beloushi’s family members were hopeful of his release by Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, an Omani blogger based in southern town of Salalah, about 1000-km south of Muscat, is also facing charges and was called in.
“I was detained for two days by the security forces for a letter I wrote to the American President Barack Obama,” Saeed Jadad, a prominent blogger and human rights activist in Oman, told Gulf News.
Asked if there were any charges against him, he said that he was not aware but the security agencies told him that his ‘file’ would remain open until the investigation was completed.
Hadad, who writes a blog in the name of Abu Imad, was also held for a week without any charges in January.
Nadim Houry, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), demanded on the HRW website that all charges against Jadad should be dropped.
The website also claimed that Jadad, 43, has called for political and social reforms on Facebook and his blog, and has been involved with European Parliament human rights bodies to advocate for improved compliance with international human rights standards by Oman.
Jadad was one of the organisers of protests in 2011 in Salalah.