Sultanate of Oman
Head of state and government: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said

The authorities restricted freedom of expression and increased arrests and harassment of political and human rights activists and government critics. Women continued to face discrimination in law and in practice. The death penalty remained in force; no executions were reported.


Oman's human rights record was examined under the UPR in November. Oman said it would consider all 233 recommendations and was due to respond by 31 March 2016.


The authorities continued to restrict freedom of expression, arresting and prosecuting online journalists, bloggers and others on public order charges or under vaguely worded penal code provisions that criminalize insulting the Sultan. The authorities also harassed activists by confiscating their identification papers and banning them from foreign travel.

In March, the authorities detained online activist Talib al-Saeedi for three weeks and released him without charge. The same month, a court in the southern city of Salalah sentenced blogger Saeed al-Daroodi, arrested in October 2014, to one year in prison and a fine; he was convicted of "trying to overthrow the government" and "spreading hate".

In April, an appeal court in Salalah released human rights activist Saeed Jaddad after he appealed against his one-year prison sentence and a fine following his conviction under the Cyber Crimes Law. In November his sentence was upheld and he was arrested to serve his prison sentence. In a separate case, in September, the Appeal Court in Muscat upheld his three-year prison sentence and a fine on charges of "undermining the prestige of the state", "incitement to protest" and "using social media to disseminate information that infringed the sanctity of public order".

The authorities arrested at least eight men in July and August following comments they had made on social media websites and their alleged links to Mohammad al-Fazari, a human rights activist and founder and editor of the Citizen online journal, who fled Oman in July.

Former Shura Council member Dr Talib al-Ma'mari and city councillor Saqr al-Balushi remained in prison serving four-year and one-year terms respectively, after an unfair trial in 2014. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had in December 2014 stated that Dr Talib al-Ma'mari was arbitrarily detained and that the government should release and compensate him.

In April, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association reported on his 2014 visit to Oman. Among other findings, he described "the legal environment for the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association", including online expression, as "problematic" He urged Oman to ratify key international human rights treaties and withdraw its reservations to other treaties to which it is a party. The government criticized the Special Rapporteur's visit and rejected his findings.


Women were not accorded equal rights with men in criminal law, which attached less weight to the evidence of a woman than to the evidence of a man, and under personal status law, which accorded men greater rights in relation to divorce, child custody, inheritance and conferral of nationality.


Oman retained the death penalty for a range of crimes; no executions were reported.

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