Dubai: The Primary Court in Muscat handed out prison terms and fines to all the accused, including a Shura Council and a Municipal Council member, for their role in the protest that broke out last August near Liwa, about 270km north of Muscat, against pollution caused by the petrochemical industries in northern Oman.

Dr Talib Al Maa’mari, Shura member elected from Liwa, and Saqr Al Balushi, a Municipal Council member were both sentenced to four and a half years in prison. The Shura member was slapped with a fine of 1,000 Omani riyals while the Liwa Municipal Council member was fined 500 riyals.

Eight others were sent to prison for one and half years and fined 300 riyals each, according to a report in the Azamn Arabic daily.

Dr Al Ma’mari was found guilty of two charges of wrongful assembly at a public place and inciting the crowd while Al Buloushi was sentenced for blocking roads and disrupting traffic.

The presiding judge Yousuf Al Faleti granted 3000 riyals bail to the Shura member pending appeal while the others were given 500 riyals bail.

Elected members of Oman’s advisory council enjoy immunity and can only be arrested after the approval by the two-thirds majority vote in the 84-member house. In case of house not in session, the Council Chairman has the authority for lifting the immunity.

However, an elected member can be arrested for his or her presence ‘at the scene of crime’. Dr Al Maa’mari, as well as Al Buloushi, were held for their participation in protests.