OCHR-Oman Media campaigns
The Shuhuh case in Oman
Since 2015, the Omani government has been holding a number of civil activists from Musandam Province, all members of the Shuhuh tribe, in detention. In 2018 it sentenced them to harsh punishments of up to life imprisonment.
In May this year the British MP Brendan O’Hara raised the case of the Shuhuh tribe in the British Parliament, where the imprisoned individuals have become known as “the Shuhuh Six”.
(video of Brendan O’Hara MP speaking on the case)
MP Karen Lee then repeatedly wrote to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary (foreign minister) about the case, and asked the British government to consider imposing sanctions on the Omani officials involved.
(photo of Karen Lee MP and image of the request for officials to be sanctioned)
So who are the Shuhuh Six, what is the Shuhuh case, and how did it begin?
Between 1971 and 1985, the Omani government set about demolishing a dozen or more historic sites in Musandam Governorate, in the far north of Oman, linked with the Shuhuh tribe’s cultural identity and heritage. They included the important Hisn al-Ras Fort in Bukha, Dibba Castle and Dibba’s ancient market, which dated back to pre-Islamic times.
Since 2009 the government has been demolishing houses and villages in mountain areas inhabited by the Shuhuh, on the pretext of their being illegally constructed and occupied.
It has also seized Sunni religious books from mosques – the Sunni sect being the branch of Islam to which the whole population of Musandam belongs – and suspended Friday prayers in mosques not under the direct supervision of the Royal Court.
Musandam has also suffered neglect at the hands of the Omani government in terms of economic and social development and the modernisation of public services and infrastructure.
The so-called Shuhuh Six were active in peaceful civic campaigning for their people – the original inhabitants of Musandam – to live in dignity without discrimination, and for an end to the government’s property confiscations and demolition operations. They were arrested at various times during the spring and summer of 2018 and sentenced to life imprisonment a few months later.
Their names are:
Mohammad Abdullah Ahmad Rahma al-Shehhi
Aref Sultan Ahmad Sultan al-Shehhi
Ali Mohammad Ali al-Shehhi
Ali Ahmad Rajab al-Shehhi
Mohammad Sulaiman Mohammad Mazyoud al-Shehhi
Rashed Saeed al-Salhadi al-Shehhi
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