Originally published on September 17, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Qaboos bin Said al Said, Sultan of Oman
Goal: Applaud the release of a human rights advocate held at a police station
Prominent human rights activist and blogger, Mohamed Al Fazari Abdelrahman has been released after being secretly held prisoner by the police for five days. After receiving orders to appear at the police station, he was detained for several days without access to legal representation. The police refused to even acknowledge to his family and lawyer that they had arrested him. A previous ForceChange petition called for the immediate release of Mohamed Al Fazari, and this is a commendable success.
As founder and editor of the e-magazine Mowatin (“Citizen”), Mohamed advocates for freedom of speech and expression in Oman, which has made him a target for law enforcement. In August 2012, Mohamed Al Fazari Abdelrahman was convicted of insulting the ruler, violating cybercrime law, and unlawful gathering. He was pardoned by Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said and released last year. In October 2013, he was arrested again and told to shut down his website. State security reportedly told Mohamed Al Fazari Abdelrahman that the next time they arrested him, they would never release him.
Although the police officers involved in his disappearance still need to be punished for their unlawful actions, the government of Oman should be applauded for releasing human rights activist Mohamed Al Fazari.
Dear Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said,
Human rights advocate, Mohamed Al Fazari Abdelrahman, disappeared after following orders to appear at the police station in Muscat. He has been targeted several times by law enforcement in the past for his work in defending human rights and has been threatened by police officers. Human rights workers such as Mohamed Al Fazari point out the government’s mistakes in order to correct the system and improve the lives of your people.
You found it within your heart to pardon Mohamed Al Fazari Abdelrahman before, and I thank you for helping him again. His only crime was attempting to help your people, but a personal grudge with the police has placed his life at risk. Please investigate the law enforcement officials involved in his arbitrary arrest and protect him from further retaliation for his important work. Thank you again for not turning your back on this intrepid human rights activist.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jhong Dizon via Flickr