x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Oman sends 55 protesters to jail for up to a year

Protesters accused of offences including robbery, unlawful gathering, and vandalising government departments given sentences of from one to 12 months.

MUSCAT // Oman has sentenced 55 protesters from one month to one year in jail in the eastern town of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali, the prosecutor's office said yesterday.

"The 55 protesters were accused of offences including robbery, unlawful gathering, and vandalising government departments in the wilayat of Jalan Bani Bu Ali," the public prosecutor said in a statement.

Most of the sentences ranged from one month to three months in jail, with only one person receiving a year's sentence, the statement said.

In April, about 300 people went on a rampage after protesting against a lack of employment in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali following demonstrations in Muscat, Sohar and Salalah.

Twenty-seven protesters who demonstrated in Sohar in April are expected to appear in court next month, the prosecutor said last week.

The six-month-old protests, which started in December and ended on May 6, left two dead and 200 injured after security forces clashed with stone-throwing protesters.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has ruled Oman for 40 years, promised a Dh9.5 billion spending package in April.

Many protesters were unsatisfied with the government response, saying promised changes were partial or too slow to be implemented.

salshaibany@thenational.ae