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Rights group: Oman arrests critics of normalisation with Israel

February 21, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Omani Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Warsaw, Poland on 13 February 2019 [YouTube]

Skyline International Foundation said the Omani authorities have arrested and forcibly disappeared social media activists who rejected normalisation with Israel.

The foundation, which monitors violations of freedom of expression through social media sites, condemned in a statement the arrests saying: “the Omani Internal Security Service has launched a campaign of arrests against social media activists and protesters who rejected normalisation with Israel and forcibly disappeared them without trial.”

According to the foundation, a number of activists had been arrested on 17 and 18 February including Haitham Al-Mashaykhi and Mus’ab Al-Dhahli who were summoned to the Internal Security Service, yet their fate is still unknown.

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The foundation said Al-Mashaykhi and Al-Dhahli criticised the growing relations between the Sultanate and Israel on Facebook and Twitter.

“The campaign of arrests against activists is a continuation of an approach to arrest all those who criticise officials,” the foundation said, explaining that at the end of 2018, a number of activists had been arrested for criticising the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman and his meeting with Sultan Qaboos.

Skyline International stressed that the arrests are contrary to International Conventions and the right to freedom of expression.

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