Over 30 human rights activists and government critics became prisoners of conscience after they were arrested, charged with using social media to insult the Sultan or committing other security-related offences, and sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.
There was sporadic labour unrest. Brief strikes were held by oil industry employees and workers building Muscat’s new international airport. Those on strike included both Omani and expatriate workers.
The authorities proposed to enhance judicial independence by removing the Minister of Justice from the Supreme Judicial Council. However, the Council continued to be chaired by the Sultan.Top of page
The authorities restricted freedom of expression and took action against more than 35 government critics, including human rights activists and bloggers, who they accused of offences including insulting the Sultan on social media networks.
One detainee, Saeed al-Hashimi, was reported to have needed hospital treatment after going on hunger strike to protest against his imprisonment.
At least 32 of those detained were prosecuted and, between 9 July and 9 September, fined and sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 months. They were convicted on charges such as insulting the Sultan, publishing defamatory information on the internet, undermining the state, inciting or engaging in protests and obstructing traffic. A number were released on bail pending appeals.
Women and girls continued to face severe discrimination in law and practice, particularly in relation to personal status, employment and their subordination to male guardians.Top of page
No information was released about the imposition of the death penalty. No executions were reported. In December, Oman rejected a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. In previous years it had abstained on this vote.Top of page