Oman Begins Trial of Human Rights Activists
An Omani court began its trial proceedings against a group of rights activists arrested in early June during demands for political reforms. Over 30 activists have been arrested in recent weeks, and the 15 on trial are accused of defamation and illegal assembly. Eleven others were charged for illegal assembly only. Earlier in the month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Reporters Without Borders urged the release of the activists. “Instead of listening,” said HRW’s Deputy Middle East director Joe Stork, “Omani authorities are arresting and prosecuting them to silence them.”
Meanwhile, Qatar has called for a comprehensive and co-ordinated legal approach to provide adequate protection to journalists and bring to justice those who violate journalists’ rights, the Gulf Times reports. The call came in a speech delivered by the Third Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office, Jassim al-Ma’awda before the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council. “Protecting journalists has become a major issue in light of the volatile political, economic and social environment in a number of countries and the increased attacks against journalists around the globe,” said al Ma’awda.