An internation human rights group has criticised authorities in Oman after a court sentenced three journalists to prison and ordered the permanent closure of their newspaper over an article that alleged corruption in the judiciary.
Ibrahim al-Mamari, editor-in-chief of the privately owned Azamn newspaper, and his deputy and managing editor Youssef al-Balushi, were jailed for three years and fined 3,000 rials ($7,800) each. A third journalist was jailed for a year.
Azamn had extensively covered a series of corruption cases in 2014 in which several company executives were convicted.
“Oman’s government appears to be in competition with its gulf allies in throwing journalists and activists in prison for peaceful criticisms,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.
“Oman should investigate the authorities’ potential misuse of power instead of silencing the messenger.”
He added that these broad restrictions on reporting appear to violate international standards of freedom of expression, including the right to criticise government officials.
Human Rights Watch said authorities have targeted Azamn before for its criticism. In 2011, a court ordered Azamn to shut down for a month and sentenced two journalists to five-month suspended jail sentences for insulting the justice minister and other officials.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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