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Oman: UN experts call for the immediate release of prominent rights activist as reprisals continue unchecked

GENEVA (30 January 2015) – A group of United Nations independent experts has urged the Government of Oman to release Said Ali Said Jadad, a prominent human rights defender who has been advocating for democratic reforms in the country and has been repeatedly detained. Mr. Jadad’s latest detention took place on 21 January, without an arrest warrant.

Mr. Jadad is scheduled to be transferred from the Police Headquarters in Salalah to appear in court in Muscat in the coming days, on charges of undermining the prestige of the state, incitement to sit-ins and demonstrations, steering up sectarian strife and offending state officials.

“This is not the first time that I have been informed about acts of reprisals against Mr. Jadad following my official visit to Oman in September 2014,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, said. “Mr. Jadad has been repeatedly detained since 10 December and I am worried that he was arrested for having met with me during my visit.”

“I urge the Omani Government to ensure the safety of Mr. Jadad and to guarantee that no human rights defender in the country is subjected to any form of reprisals – including threats, harassment, imprisonment or judicial proceedings,” Mr. Kiai stated.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst,   pointed out that “Mr. Jadad’s recurring detention is unacceptable as it seems to be an act of reprisal for cooperating with international organizations, such as the UN and its human rights mechanisms.”

“I am concerned that Mr. Jaddad is being arbitrarily deprived of his liberty on the basis of having exercised his rights to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of association, as guaranteed by articles 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Mads Andenas, who currently chairs the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, expressed concern over reports of increased and more severe control over civil society in the country by Omani security and intelligence services, and the impact that these restrictions have on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“We steadfastly condemn the detention of individuals who seek to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights and we call for Mr. Jadad’s immediate release,” the independent experts said.

The experts have been in contact with the Government of Oman on the abovementioned issues.

ENDS

The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as ‘Special Procedures’, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system. ‘Special Procedures’ is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Currently, there are 38 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 73 mandate holders.

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

For more information, visit:

Freedom of assembly: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx

Human rights defenders: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/SRHRDefendersIndex.aspx

Disappearances: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx

Arbitrary Detention: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx

Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx

Freedom of opinion: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Oman: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/OMIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Marissa Storozum (+41 22 91 79689 / freeassembly@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

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