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Omani doctor released from detention

Dr Al Azry says that he was treated well during five-day detention

Gulf News

Muscat: After five days in detention, Dr Saleh Al Azry, a doctor with the Ministry of Health, was released on Thursday. “It was a routine inquiry about my writings on social media web sites,” he told Gulf News on Saturday.

Dr Al Azry said that he was treated politely by the security agencies. “They asked me if I wanted to talk to my mother, wife or other family members,” he said, adding that he was not kept in prison but was well looked after. “I was free to watch television and was kept comfortably,” he said. “It is all over,” he said as he heaved a sigh of relief.

Dr Al Azry was called by the security agencies on April 14 and questioned for five days. This is the first time that the ministry doctor was called in for questioning by the security agencies. He was active during protests staged by the medical professionals in 2011 for better wages and working conditions. Last month, Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed pardoned all activists imprisoned for insulting him, those arrested for violating country’s cyber laws, as well as those held for illegal gathering, ordering the immediate release of all.

In a crackdown that started in May 2012 authorities had arrested about 49 people and tried them in a court for insulting the Sultan, violating the country’s cyber laws, or for illegal gathering at a public place. Some faced multiple charges. Eleven who were sentenced to prison for six months for illegal gathering had won an appeal in the Supreme Court for a retrial before the Sultan pardoned all. Some, charged for violating cyber laws, had been released on bail while others sentenced on the same charges had been serving prison terms handed by the Primary Court and later upheld by the Appeal court, when the news of pardon by the country’s ruler came.