Muscat: Oman’s Shura Council has formed a panel to probe the detention of Dr Talib Al Maa’mari, Liwa representative in the elected council.
Dr Al Maa’mari, 40, was detained by security forces after a raid on his brother’s house in the early hours of Saturday after he had had talks on Friday night with the other Shura members from the Batinah region as well as security authorities about last Thursday’s demonstrations and subsequent action to disperse the crowd by the security agencies.
As an elected member he enjoys immunity and can be held only after approval by the two thirds majority vote in the 84-member house. At the same time, there is a provision in the law that if the advisory council is not in session, then the chairman has the power to lift his immunity.
Last year, the Public Prosecution wanted to try Dr Al Maa’mari for a post on his Facebook account against a Housing Ministry employee. The elected council had rejected the request.
However, his detention this time has come when the house is not in session. It is still not known if the chairman had given the green signal.
“It is still not clear,” Captain Murad Al Maa’mari, the detained Shura member’s brother, told Gulf News.
Meanwhile, he told Gulf News that Shura members from the Batinah province as well as Buraimi were making efforts to bring an amicable solution to the situation.
“On our part, I along with the community leaders in Liwa [about 270km north of Muscat] and other parts of Batinah have urged people to stay calm and not to protest,” he revealed, adding that dialogue was the only way to resolve the whole issue.
Dr Al Maa’mari was present when a crowd of local residents from Liwa demonstrated last Thursday at the Sohar Port gate against petrochemical industries causing pollution in the area. A strong security force fired tear gas, and water cannon to disperse the crowd.
Captain Murad had told Gulf News earlier that his brother had had gone to the Liwa demonstration as a mediator and not to lead. “He had also informed the other Shura members from Batinah region about the situation.”
Meanwhile, Salim Bin Mohammad Al Mashani, Shura member from Taqa (about 1,200km south of Muscat), told local web portal Al Balad that the probe panel set up by the council will include two vice-presidents and a number of members. “The panel will directly talk to the Royal Office for the release of Dr Al Maa’mari,” he was quoted by the portal.