Muscat: A blogger who was pardoned by Oman’s leader in March was arrested again on Monday night.
The security authorities in Oman first detained Sultan Al Sa’adi in 2011 for his role in the Sohar protests and then again they picked him up last year for violating the country’s cyber laws and insulting the Sultan. In March, the Omani monarch pardoned all bloggers as well as those held for public demonstrations and Al Sa’adi was one of them. However, Al Sa’adi, who works at a desert field for a petroleum company, was arrested again in Suwaiq, about 150km north of Muscat on Monday night, apparently for some of his postings on micro-blogging website Twitter account.
“He was intercepted at a petrol station in Suwaiq as he was driving to his sister’s house with his wife and two children – five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter,” his sister Fatima Al Sa’adi told Gulf News from London over social media.
She said that she spoke to her brother’s children. “They told me that bad people took their father away,” she said.
“A security force consisting of 14 persons stopped Sultan while he was driving his car and he was taken away in front of his son and daughter,” she said, alleging that the children and their mother were left alone on the road.
She added that after being taken away, Al Sa’adi was brought home with his hands tied. “They brought him home and searched the house for computers,” she informed.
Fatima said that their mother was shocked to see him tied and the entire neighbourhood was watching.
Since May last year, authorities have started a crackdown against bloggers for posting on social media and local forum writings, seen as insulting to the Sultan as well as violating the country’s cyber laws.
The trial of the case of over a dozen bloggers went on for nearly a year before the Sultan pardoned all, including Al Sa’adi, in March.