Target: Qaboos bin Sa’id, Sultan of Oman
Goal: Immediately release four men arrested and held without charge in Oman
Four Omani men have been held incommunicado for over three weeks. None of them have been charged with any crimes, and they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. They must be either charged or released immediately.
The four men–Ibrahim Abdullah Juma al-Balushi, Nasser al-Ehyai, Said al-Zeidi and Talal Mohammed al-Ma’amari–do not appear to be connected outside of their imprisonment. Ibrahim al-Balushi, who lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but is originally from Oman, was arrested near the border of the UAE. The other three men were all summoned to the Special Section of police headquarters in Muscat, the capital of Oman. They were arrested upon their arrival at the building. A fifth individual, brother-in-law to Mohammed al-Ma’amari, was arrested at the same time but released not long after.
Both Ibrahim al-Belushi and Talal al-Ma’amari have been arrested and imprisoned before; they each spent ten months in prison in 2001 for “sparking sectarian differences,” Amnesty International reports. Talal al-Ma’amari is also related to Dr. Talib Al Ma’amari, an imprisoned member of the Shoura Council, which means he could be unjustly targeted for poor treatment.
The fact that the men have yet to be charged with any crimes is both extremely worrying and completely unacceptable. Their families have been unable to communicate with them, and are understandably concerned that their loved ones are being tortured. Demand that all four men either be charged with internationally-recognizable criminal offenses or else be released immediately.
I am writing to express my concern for the well-being of Ibrahim Abdullah Juma al-Balushi, Nasser al-Ehyai, Said al-Zeidi and Talal Mohammed al-Ma’amari, all of whom have been held without charge since May 6, 2014.
The men have all been held incommunicado, without access to their families or lawyers. No charges have been brought against them, and their families’ requests for information have been ignored. Given Oman’s history of arbitrary detentions, excessive use of police force, and torture and ill-treatment of prisoners I am deeply concerned for their welfare and worried that their most basic human rights are being violated.
I also find it worrying that Ibrahim al-Balushi and Talal al-Ma’amari have been arrested before on charges of “sparking sectarian differences.” Both men were sentenced to three years in prison, but were pardoned after serving ten months. I am concerned that their previous activities have made them the subjects of an unfair bias on the part of the state. Furthermore, Talal al-Ma’amari is related to Shoura Council member Dr. Talib Al Ma’amari, a fact that may incite further prejudices against him.
I encourage Oman to take further steps toward meeting international human rights standards and cooperating with human rights agreements in general. To help demonstrate this commitment I urge you to do what is right and release these four men immediately or else charge them with internationally-recognizable offenses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jelle Vancoppenolle via Flickr