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Oman convicts four activists, freed on bail

They are among 36 activists who were arrested

Gulf News

Muscat: An Omani court on Monday sentenced four pro-reform activists to jail terms of between six months and a year for defaming Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, their lawyer said, but they were freed on bail pending an appeal.

Hamad Al Kharusi, Ali Al Meqbali and Mahmoud Al Rawahi were sentenced to one year in prison for defaming the Sultan, and for “violating the law on cyber crimes,” said one of their lawyers, Yaqub Al Kharusi.

Hammoud Al Rashidi was handed a six-month term for the same offence, he said.

The four defendants were released on bail of 1,000 Omani riyals (Dh9,544) each pending the appeal.

They are among a group of 36 pro-reform activists that includes bloggers, writers and lawyers arrested for anti-government actions at the start of June. They have all been released, some of them on bail.

Paris-based watchdog Reporters without Borders and New York-based Human Right Watch have denounced the arrests.

Oman was hit by a wave of protests last year demanding political reforms and riot police dispersed the demonstrations with force.