PPF concerned over detention of two internet activists in Oman

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to Qaboos bin Said al Said, Sultanate of Oman has expressed concern over the detention of two internet activists in Oman.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali has called on the Omani government to immediately and unconditionally release both Sultan Al-Maktoumi and Salem Al-Arimi. PPF also urged to protect freedom of expression on Internet in the country.

According to Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Sultan Al-Maktoumi an Internet activist who works for “Al-Shabab Al-Toufahim” magazine and “Al-Raya” newspaper was detained on October 23 2018. The Special Division of Sohar Police Headquarters had summoned Al-Maktoumi. The activist was possibly been arrested few days before the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman in the last week of October.

However it is believed that the Internal Security Service (ISS) is trying to silence the activist because of his stories about democracy, change and his pro-Palestinian views. The reason for arresting Al-Maktoumi might be preventing him from sharing his opinions declining the process of normalization the same time when Netanyahu’s government removes the civil and humanitarian rights of the Palestinian people.

On October 27, another Internet activist Salem Al-Arimi was detained in Muscat by the Special Division of the Omani Police Headquarters. Al-Arimi was also summoned for his writings, which also called for change.

Both activists were detained without any warrant and were also barred from meeting with their families or a lawyer.