Last updated: 30 August, 2017

Omanis appeal jail over insulting sultan

Eleven activists appeared in an Omani court on Wednesday to appeal a one-year jail term they each received for defaming the sultan during pro-reform protests last year, their lawyer said.

“The lawyers (representing the group) presented oral and written justifications to appeal,” said the lawyer Sami al-Saadi, adding that the hearing was only attended by the defendants and their defence team.

The activists — who include bloggers and writers — were sentenced in August but are out on bail. They were each ordered to pay a fine of 200 rials ($550) at the time.

The prosecution had charged them with defaming the sultan, an act considered a state security crime, as well as harming Oman’s national security and the public interest.

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

Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled the Gulf country for the past 42 years, responded by reshuffling the cabinet and increasing the powers of the consultative assembly.