Arrests and Summons in Oman
Oman has witnessed currently a series of arrests and summons targeting several citizens due to their criticism of corruption and the government, as well as the perceived lack of seriousness on the part of official authorities in pursuing change and reform.
On August 9, 2023, Hani Al-Sarhani, a businessman, was summoned by the Internal Security Service, the Intelligence, for his activities on social media platforms and his ongoing criticism of corruption. He was also known for his involvement in various audio spaces on the previously known platform Twitter, X. Which gained popularity and acceptance among a wide segment of citizens. Hani Al-Sarhani remains detained by the Intelligence, with uncertainty about whether he will be referred to trial and charged, or if he will be released on the condition of refraining from engaging in similar activities again.
Likewise, on August 16, 2023, the Intelligence summoned the cleric Masoud Al-Maqbali for similar reasons, as reported by the OCHR. Al-Maqbali is still being held by the Intelligence without clarity on whether he is allowed to communicate with his legal representative or his family.
Despite Oman’s signing of various international agreements related to human rights in 2020, such as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, it appears that these provisions are being violated, and the country is not fully adhering to individual rights, such as not detaining individuals in undisclosed/secret locations or preventing them from communicating with their legal representatives, as outlined in Article 17 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
In light of this, the OCHR urges the Omani authorities to respect freedom of opinion and expression, safeguarding the rights of individuals to exercise this right. Additionally, the OCHR calls for the unconditional and immediate release of both Hani Al-Sarhani and Masoud Al-Maqbali.