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Oman: Internet activist Abu Al-Yasa Al-Rawahi arrested

On 17 February 2022, the security forces arrested Internet activist Dr. Abdulmajeed bin Hamoud Al-Rawahi (Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi) due to his criticism of the ruling family. He was released after four days of detention on 21 February 2022.

On 14 February 2022, Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi tweeted on his Twitter account a comment on a photo published on the same day on the Twitter account of the ruling family in Oman, in which he said: “The people are waiting for you to save them from what they are facing and not waiting for you to show family photos wherever you go…. the people are in debt and lack your initiatives and ideas, not photos of a parade.” Informed local sources confirmed that this tweet was the main reason for his arrest.

Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi uses his Twitter account to express his views and defend the civil and human rights of citizens. On 25 December 2021, he tweeted, “Where are the members of the Shura Council… are they alive or among the dead?” The tweet was posted in solidarity with prominent media figure Kholoud Al-Omari, after the Ministry of Information decided on 01 December 2021, in an arbitrary measure that puts freedom of expression in great danger, to remove from the air the “All Questions” program that she was presenting.

On 14 February 2022, Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi asked the following question in a tweet to him, “Why did the government not monitor the electricity, water and sewage companies and give them the right to dispose of fees and pricing on citizens, residents and institutions… Are there founders of these companies who have priority in doubling profits at the expense of the sons of the homeland and the residents?”

Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi lives and works as a specialised veterinarian in the city of Barka, where he previously obtained a doctorate from Murdoch University in Australia. Barka is a coastal city located 85 km from the capital, Muscat.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Omani Association for Human Rights (OAHR) condemn the arbitrary arrest and detention of Internet activist Abdulmajeed bin Hamoud Al-Rawahi (Abu Yasa Al-Rawahi) by the security authorities within a common and systematic pattern adopted that aims to withhold other opinions and completely restrict public freedoms, especially freedom of expression online and offline. The Omani government must seriously protect public freedoms, including the right of citizens to express their opinions freely without any security or judicial harassment.