Muscat: Eleven activists appeared in an Omani court on Wednesday to appeal a one-year jail term they each received for defaming the sultan during pro-reform protests last year, their lawyer said.

“The lawyers [representing the group] presented oral and written justifications to appeal,” said the lawyer Sami Al Sa’adi, adding that the hearing was only attended by the defendants and their defence team.

The activists — who include bloggers and writers — were sentenced in August but are out on bail. They were each ordered to pay a fine of 200 rials (Dh2,020) at the time.

The prosecution had charged them with defaming the sultan, an act considered a state security crime, as well as harming Oman’s national security and the public interest.

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