Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said yesterday pardoned all the activists, netizens and human rights defenders who have been convicted on charges of defamation, cyber-crime or illegal assembly in recent months.
Around 20 of these prisoners of conscience recently went on hunger strike in protest against their imprisonment and the time taken by the supreme court to examine their appeals.
“We welcome the announced release of all the human rights defenders currently in detention,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is an encouraging gesture for freedom of information in the sultanate. We will nonetheless remain very vigilant about what happens next.
“No one should forget the many people who were arrested, charged and convicted on charges such as defamation and cyber-crime. The laws on freedom of information, including online freedom of information, must be reformed so that they comply with international undertakings signed and ratified by the sultanate. Such arrests and convictions should not be possible in the future.”