PEN welcomes the release of prominent poet Abdullah Habib on June 13, 2018, who was serving a six-month prison sentence on politically-motivated charges. Habib was released under a general amnesty issued by ruler Sultan Qaboos on the occasion of the Eid Al-Fitr which is an Islamic celebration to mark the end of Ramadan.

On April 2, 2018, Habib was arrested following a decision of the Muscat Appeals Court, which upheld a three-year sentence against him, with only six months to be served in prison. The remaining two and a half years of the sentence have been suspended, but during this time Habib is prevented from traveling. Therefore, Habib’s passport has not yet been returned to him. During his detention at the accommodation center at Samail Central Prison, Habib was denied regular access to his medication. Habib was convicted of contempt of religion, spreading hatred, blasphemy, and using the internet to publish material that prejudice religious values or public order.

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Send Appeals:

  • Welcoming the release of poet Abdullah Habib, and calling for the full respect of his right freedom of expression;
  • Calling for Habib’s suspended sentence to be quashed, for his passport to be returned, and for the removal of his travel ban;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all other writers currently detained in Oman solely in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • Urging the Omani authorities to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without delay and reminding them that, in line with the UN’s 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the government must provide protection to human rights defenders, including against any violence, threats, retaliation, or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of the legitimate exercise of their rights.

Send appeals to:

Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id

Head of State
Diwan of the Royal Court
The Palace, Muscat 113
Sultanate of Oman
Salutation: Your Majesty

Abdulmalik bin Abdullah Al Khalili, Minister of Justice

Ministry of Justice
Al Khwair – Al Wazarat Street
P. O. Box: Ruwi , 354
Postal Code: Ruwi, 112
Muscat – Sultanate of Oman
Email: info@moj.gov.om 
Salutation: Your Excellency

Hamoud bin Faisal bin Saeed Al Busaidi, Minister of Interior

Ministry of Interior
Al Khwair – Al Wazarat Street
Sekat 3415 – Muscat – Sultanate of Oman
Email: Off@moi.gov.om
Salutation: Your Excellency

It is recommended that you send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative for Oman in your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here

** Please keep us informed of any action you take in regard to Abdullah Habib’s case, including any responses you receive from the authorities.

Background:

Abdullah Habib is a prolific writer, film-maker, and intellectual who has written extensively on film. He holds a PhD/ABD (2005) in Critical Film Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he has taught courses in “Third World Cinema” and “Cinema and Social Change.” Habib has also published twelve books of poetry and short story collections. In 2013, Habib was honored by the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council for his excellence in cultural production.

PEN has been campaigning for Habib as we believe that he has been targeted for his peaceful activism and writing. The situation for freedom of expression and opinion in Oman continues to deteriorate. Many writers and activists have been arrested or forced to flee the country.

To see our previous actions on Abdullah Habib please click here.

For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: Nael.Georges@pen-international.org