Several bloggers who criticized the government were assaulted or detained. The State Security Court was abolished and a new law against financing terrorism took effect. No death sentences or executions were reported.
In January, the Sultan appointed the 14 members of the National Human Rights Committee, created by decree in 2008. The Committee is affiliated to the Majlis al-Dawla, the upper legislative house, but is mandated to function independently.
In December, Oman abstained in a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.Top of page
The government maintained strict curbs on freedom of expression. Several bloggers appeared to have been targeted after criticizing the government. However, in January legal proceedings against A’sim al-Sheedi, a journalist accused of defamation after he published an article in December 2009 alleging police corruption, were indefinitely suspended.
The Law on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism was enacted in June. It defines the offence of financing terrorism in very broad terms as the financing of “terrorism, terrorist crimes or terrorist organizations” as well as “the commission of any action regarded as a crime within any of the relevant treaties and conventions” to which Oman is party. However, it does not list these treaties and conventions. The law also requires lawyers to disclose to the authorities information about their clients if they suspect their clients have committed offences under this law, so breaching the principle of lawyer-client confidentiality.Top of page
At least five people belonging to Aal Tawayya and Aal Khalifaya tribes continued to be denied equitable access to their economic and social rights as a consequence of a 2006 Interior Ministry decision to rename their tribes “Awlad Tawayya” and “Awlad Khalifayn”, affiliating them to the al-Harithi tribe. This reduced their status to that of “akhdam”, effectively servants of the al-Harithi tribe. The government said it had addressed the tribes’ grievance. However, some members of the tribes were reported to still face difficulties in renewing their identity cards, which are needed to register businesses, obtain travel documents, and arrange matters such as divorce and inheritance.Top of page