Reporters Without Borders is dismayed to learn that a Muscat court sentenced Mukhtar Al-Hinai, a journalist with the daily Al-Zaman, to a year in prison and a fine of 1,000 riyals (2,100 euros) on 16 September on charges of lèse-majesté and violating the cyber-crime law.
"We are extremely disappointed and disturbed,” Reporters Without Borders said. "A total of 25 netizens have been convicted on lèse-majesté and cyber-crime charges since July amid a complete absence of judicial independence. By its silence, the international community is rendering itself an accomplice to the crackdown of the past few months on those using their right to free expression to demand political reforms in Oman."
Al-Hinai was already sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of 200 riyals (420 euros) on 8 August on charges of unlawful assembly and disturbing public order. He was released after paying 1,000 riyals in bail on 26 August (LINK).
Decisions on five other netizens accused of lèse-majesté – Sultan Al-Saadi, Hatem Al-Maliki, Khalid Al-Nofli, Khalfan Al-Saadi and Mohamed Al-Fazari – were postponed by the court until 14 October.
A Muscat court sentenced six other netizens – Esmaeel Al-Miqbali, Ali Al-Hajji, Mahmoud Al-Jamodi, Eshaq Al-Aghbari, Hassan Al-Roqaishi and Nabhan Al-Hanashi – on 9 September to 18 months in prison on lèse-majesté, cyber-crime and defamation charges. They are still free pending the outcome of their appeal.
Khalfan Al-Badwawi, the last netizen still detained in Oman, was finally was released on bail on 16 September. No date has so far been set for his trial.