x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Oman court jails six for defaming Sultan Qaboos

Five men and a woman jailed for a year each were part of a group of 36 intellectuals and bloggers demanding political reforms.

MUSCAT // A court on Monday sentenced five men and a woman to one year in prison each for defaming Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos and for cyber crimes, their lawyer said.

The six were part of a group of 36 intellectuals and bloggers demanding political reforms who were arrested at the start of June and subsequently released.

Four activists were sentenced on July 9 to jail terms of between six months and a year for defaming Sultan Qaboos, but were freed on bail pending appeal.

The latest six people to be convicted were also released on bail pending their appeal hearing on September 15, lawyer Yaqub Al Kharusi said.

Paris-based watchdog Reporters without Borders and New York-based Human Rights Watch have denounced the arrests.

Oman was hit by a wave of protests last year demanding political reforms and riot police dispersed the demonstrations with force.