The OCHR-Oman expresses its deepest condolences to Hassan Albasham’s family upon his passing. Words are never adequate in moments like these.
On 17 September 2015, Al-Basham was first arrested by the Internal Security Service (ISS) and appeared before the Special Division of the Omani Police in Sohar. He was released on 23 September 2015, and then arrested again two days later, on 25 September 2015, and subjected to a prolonged interrogation.
On 13 June 2016, the Court of Appeal in Sohar upheld the three-year prison sentence against Al-Basham. A fine related to the charge of “insulting the Sultan” was overturned. On 08 February 2016, the Court of First Instance in Sohar had sentenced Al-Basham to three years in prison on charges of “the use of the Internet in what might be prejudicial to religious values.” He was also convicted of allegedly “insulting the Sultan” and fined 500 Omani Rials (US$1300) – a charge which was dropped.
It should be noted that, previously, on 17 January 2017, the High Court (the highest in the land) had revoked the three-year prison sentence against Al-Basham after its examination of his case, which is related to his human rights activities. The ruling was based on his deteriorating health and the case was referred back to the Court of Appeal. The High Court took into account the fact that the request by the defense team to carry out a medical examination of the defendant was ignored during the trial.
However, on 19 November 2017, the Court of Appeal in Muscat again upheld the initial verdict of three years in prison to which he was initially sentenced by the Court of First Instance in Muscat. The Court of Appeal reportedly did not allow the defense team to present its evidence and medical reports.
Al-Basham wrote on 25 November 2017 on his Facebook page: “Goodbye my friends and my loved ones ….” before he was jailed the next day in Samail Central Prison to serve the sentence. Reports confirmed that he will appeal the ruling again at the High Court.
Al-Basham is an online activist who has defended prisoners of conscience with his numerous writings. He also carries out other activities on social and humanitarian levels. He participated in the 2011 protests during the Arab Spring, which in Oman focused on improving social conditions such as more jobs, as well as combatting corruption.
The Omani’s government has ignored all local and international claims human rights bodies to release Albasham previously.