An Omani activist, who was re-arrested weeks after his previous release, is believed to be in poor health and at risk of torture and ill-treatment, according to a prominent human rights group.

Amnesty International announced that on the 21st of January, 24 security personnel forcibly removed Saeed Jaddad, 48, from his  residence in Salalah, located in the southern province of Dhofar, Oman. However two days after his arrest, the activist was hospitalized after beginning a hunger strike and refusing to take medication for a long standing heart condition.

‘The authorities in Oman are endangering the health and life of activist Saeed Jaddad, who should not be facing trial in the first place’, said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

‘Rather than putting him at further risk by transferring him from Salalah to Muscat for a court trial, Saeed Jaddad should be released immediately and unconditionally’.

Amnesty International confirmed in a press statement that Jaddad will be tried on separate charges relating to Oman’s Cyber Crime Law.

However, medical officials in Oman recommended that Jaddad should not be transferred because of failing health – comments that law enforcement officials have since denounced.

At the time of this report, Jaddad has since been moved to the police headquarters in Salalah, with a view of sending him via plane to Muscat to stand trial.

Jaddad is currently facing charges of ‘undermining the status and prestige of the state’ in relation to his meeting with members of the European Parliament in 2013. The 48-year-old has been a vocal critic of the Oman government, calling for political and social reforms.

Before his current arrest, Jaddad was last arrested on the 10th of December, 2014 when officials searched his home, confiscating his phone and computer. His family was not informed as to why he was being arrested or where they were taking him.

According to the group, he was released on the 22nd of December on bail, undergoing frequent interrogations and being confined to a shared cell, infested with cockroaches and other insects, with at least 22 common law detainees.

Amnesty International, as well as other human rights groups, consider Saeed Jaddad a prisoner of conscience, who has been jailed for exercising his human rights to freedom of speech.

At a time when the debate of free speech has been fuelled by the Charlie Hebdo attack, it should be noted that very few governments have spoken out in response to Jaddad’s detainment.

 

Sources:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE20/002/2015/en/5a19e14d-9b50-4cd7-a371-613c91749edc/mde200022015en.pdf

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/oman-health-activist-hunger-strike-deteriorating-severely-2015-01-26