Omani Police Apprehend Protesters
Omani riot police on Monday detained some 30 activists during a peaceful protest near police headquarters in Muscat. Activists said Monday’s protest was the third since Saturday to press for prisoners’ release, job creation and faster reforms. “They put them on a bus and took them away,” Zaher al-Abri, a local journalist at the scene, told Reuters by telephone. “Some were handcuffed but most were not,” he said, adding that seven women and 22 men had been taken away.
Ten people were arrested in Oman in the past two weeks in a police crackdown on dissent amid rising discontent. Among the six arrested Friday night were blogger Hassan Rukaishi, authors Hammoud al-Rashedi and Nabhan al-Hanashi and poet Hamad al-Kharusi. The campaign comes four days after Oman Attorney General’s threat on June 6 to arrest those whom he called “agitators”, while demands increased for the release of activists Habiba al-Hana’i, Yaqoub al-Kharusi and Ismail al-Meqbali. The Gulf Center for Human Rights reported that on May 31, the three activists were arrested by security forces as they were on their way to cover an open labor strike in the main oil production areas of Fohod and Marmu. The Arab Network For Human Rights denounced crackdown as an escalation by authorities on freedom of expression and opinion. “This unbelievable campaign proves how the authorities have zero tolerance for any opposing view” said ANHRI.
Meanwhile, in nearby Bahrain, 11-year-old Ali Hasan was released without bail following nearly a month in police custody. Hasan’s lawer, Mohsen al-Alawi, told Al Jazeera that judges had decided to release the boy but that his trial was set to continue on June 20. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expressed concern about the government’s targeting of children under the age of 15 in its crackdown. There are a “growing number of children detained for investigation in security cases,” said The Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organization.