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Oman frees duo who are on trial

Activists’ houses searched, laptop and mobile phones taken away

Gulf News

Muscat Two activists, who were out on bail but detained again by security forces, were released late Tuesday.

Hathim Al Malki and Khalfan Al Badwawi, who were out on a bail and awaiting trial in Primary Court for insulting the Sultan and violating Oman’s cyber laws, were detained again on last Friday and Saturday respectively.

Al Badwawi, who has done his Post Graduation in Occupational Health and Safety Management, was at the forefront of making representation at the Shura Council in the case of those on hunger strike in high-security Central Prison at Sumayil as well as for those detained for demonstrating outside the Royal Opera House Muscat in Shatti area.

According to Monitor of Human Rights in Oman Group, Al Badwawi was first called on his mobile asking him not to interfere in others’ cases and not to give his opinions on arrests.

“He was picked up last Saturday from a Coffee Shop,” his father Eisa Khalfan Ali told Gulf News as he waited for his son’s release at the Public Prosecution office in Al Khuwair.

“I was asked to come to the Public Prosecution for the release,” he said.

He also informed Gulf News that during his son’s detention their house was searched and laptop and mobile phone were taken away.

Al Malki, who was the first to come out on Tuesday, also had his house searched. “They took laptop and two mobile phones from our house,” Al Malki’s younger brother Husam told Gulf News.

Both Al Badwawi and Al Malki were made to sign an undertaking not to write against the government on blogs, local forum or social media before they were released.

According to the Monitor of Human Rights in Oman Group’s posting on social media website Facebook, Al Badwawi, who was sacked by his employers Sohar Aluminium last year, has already spent 97 days in prison, including 56 in solitary confinement during his first detention and before Primary Court granted him a bail.